Doubling of Yelahanka-Penukonda section on Bangalore-Dharmavaram route to be Fast-tracked

Bangalore (SBC): Work on doubling of the railway line between Yelahanka and Penukonda on the Bengaluru-Dharmavaram section, which was announced in the recent Railway Budget, is slated to begin by October this year.

This was decided at a high-level meeting chaired by Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Constructions, South Western Railway, Ashok Gupta told Express that Railway Board officials and CAOs from across the country were present to review railway projects.

“We had received a letter during March-end calling for fast-tracking of all the line doubling projects, particularly the Yelahanka-Penukonda section. The high-level meeting reiterated this,” he said.

The 121-km line doubling work will take three years to complete from the time of commencement, Gupta added. The route is a vital link between Bengaluru and North India.

“The existing yards at the stations have to be modified, platforms extended and the second line has to be laid. We are in the process of preparing estimates and inviting tenders,” he added.

The existing line is saturated as long-distance trains like Karnataka Express, Rajdhani Express and Sampark Kranti Express run along this line. So, a second line will help introduce new trains and decongest traffic, another top railway official said. Gupta said the budget had permitted `958 crore to be raised through Extra Budgetary Resources (Institutional Financing) for the project. A five-year MoU signed with the LIC, worth `1.5 lakh crore, would take care of funding for the project, he added.

Land Acquisition

The state government has not notified rules under the new Land Acquisition Act, thereby stalling several railway projects supposed to be done on a cost-sharing basis between the State and the Centre, Gupta said.

“We require 14,000 acres of land for 11 projects planned by the South Western Railway division. Only 4,000 acres have been acquired by the State government. There won’t be progress on new projects till the remainder is obtained,” the official said.

Work on railway lines between Tumakuru-Chitradurga-Davangere (200 km), Shivamogga-Harihar (79 km), Gadag-Wadi (252 km), Whitefield-Kolar (53 km), Hajjalapur-Chamarajnagar (140 km), Chikkamagaluru-Sakleshpur (47 km) have not begun at all due to land issues, he said.

He also said other projects in which work has begun, like the Tumakuru-Rayadurga, Bagalkot-Kudachi, Ginigera-Raichur have not made  progress due to land issues.

On the status of other projects, the CAO said, “The Bengaluru-Hassan broad guage line via Nelamangala, Kunigal and Shravanabelagola will be completed by the year-end and will be declared open for traffic by March 2016.”

The Ramanagaram-Mysuru double line (except the 1.5-km stretch along the Cauvery bridge and Tipu Armoury) will be commissioned by October this year, he said.