FDI only to Improve Railway Infrastructure: says DVS

Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda addressing a press conference in Gulbarga on Wednesday
Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda addressing a press conference in Gulbarga on Wednesday

गुलबर्गा Gulbarga (GR): Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Indian Railways will be only for the creation of necessary infrastructure, said Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda here on Wednesday.

He told reporters that people need not worry that FDI in Railways would be a burden on passengers. “We will not allow FDI in operating section,” he said.

He said several countries, including China, Japan and France, have come forward to invest in infrastructure for the Railways. “We are signing an MoU with China on Thursday for the Mysore-Bangalore-Chennai high-speed train corridor. The train will run at a speed of 160 km per hour,” he said.

In all, 26 railway projects are in progress in Karnataka. While 10 are being implemented entirely by the Railways, 16 are joint collaborations between the state and the Centre, he said. “To complete these 26 projects, Rs.10,800 crore is needed. The state government has to give Rs.450 crore as its share, but so far it has released Rs.60 crore. We have written to the Karnataka government asking them to release the remaining amount,” he said.

To a question about the Chief Minister’s reluctance to bear 50 per cent of the project cost, Gowda said Sidharamaiah has requested reducing the state government’s share.

“But I have convinced him of the necessity of the state bearing 50 per cent of the cost for speedy completion of the projects and to take up new projects,” he said.

The state government has to acquire 12,238 acres for railway projects, but so far it has acquired 4,050 acres, he added. Gowda said the Bidar-Gulbarga railway line would be completed in 2016 and `100 crore has been allocated for the project in this year’s budget.

The Ramanagaram-Mysore track doubling work will be completed in 2015, he said.