Dissent over Inordinate delay in completion of Jagtial-Nizamabad Railway line

Nizamabad (NZB): The work on the 177 km ambitious railway project from Peddapalli to Nizamabad via Karimnagar and Jagtial was launched by the then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao in 1993 and after two decades, the project is yet to be completed and commissioned, the authorities seem to have cold shouldered the 35-km stretch from Armoor to Nizamabad thanks to meagre allocations in the Railway budget and lackadaisical attitude of the politicians. Once completed, it can throw open a new corridor in passenger as well as freight transportation.

After much delay, the authorities could complete the Peddapalli to Karimnagar line covering a distance of 35.53 km in 2001 by introducing passenger train services. Karimnagar-Jagtial stretch covering 47.34 km was subsequently completed and thrown open for passenger traffic in 2007. From then, the works have been going at a snail’s pace due to paucity of funds.

Interestingly, Karimnagar railway station was the first in the Indian railways to introduce the granite ferrying through its wagons in 2002. Since then, the station has bagged “group award for excellent work in goods loading” for the last few years. Beginning in 2002-2003, the railways earned Rs. 35 crore through freight and the revenue steadily rose to Rs. 120 crore annually by ferrying granite, paddy, maize, cement and other products from the district to other parts of the country.

Given the pace of work and also fund release, the railway line, in all probability, will be complete by March 2016. It was completed up to Morthad and engine rolling was conducted for 11 kilometres from the 135th km to 146th km till Lakkora, just two kilometres away from Armoor in March this year.

Laying of track from Morthad to Armoor is in the final stage and by coming March it would be over. If all goes well, the SCR will commission passenger trains till Morthad by January 31 after railway safety inspection is over, according to sources in the railway department. Fund crunch is the main problem in the execution of work as this year a paltry sum of Rs.18.30 crore was earmarked in Vote-On-Account of railways.

Problem with regard to land acquisition almost blew over and just 20 acre land in different stretches covering nine villages is to be acquired. If the estimated cost of Rs. 200 crore is allocated in two spells in coming two budgets, the remaining 28 km line between Armoor and Nizamabad could be constructed paving the way for running trains till Peddapally, the sources said.

Karimnagar District Chamber of Commerce president Gourishetty Muninder told that in spite of good revenues, railways was neglecting the work. “Completion of these works up to Nizamabad will help in goods transportation to Mumbai, thereby increasing the economic activity in the district,” he said and added that agricultural products of the district such as maize, cotton and paddy would have more demand in Maharashtra state.