Karnataka Chamber of Commerce & Industry welcome Railway Budget 2014-15

Bangalore (SBC): The Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC) on Wednesday welcomed the proposal of the Railways to introduce six new trains from Bangalore which will drastically ease passenger woes. The chamber also welcomed the proposal to set up a dedicated Eastern-Western Freight Corridor which is expected to prune the transit time considerably for a smoother movement of goods on this very high traffic corridor. The chamber also commended the government for having exceeded the target of laying 2,000 kms of new lines by 27 kms, which is laudable.

H V Harish, President-BCIC, reacting to the Railway budget, said: “The proposals on stepping up investments in the Railways through partnerships with the private sector, PPP projects relating to rolling stock manufacturing units, modernisation of railway stations, multi-functional complexes, logistics parks, private freight terminal, freight train operations, liberalised wagon investment schemes and dedicated freight corridors are all welcome measures which will change the face of the Indian Railways if implemented in toto and with a definite time frame.” He hoped that the government will earnestly put these proposals on a fast tract mode rather than keep it only on paper.

He also expressed happiness over a proposal “to enable FDI to foster the creation of world class rail infrastructure”. This would go a long way in modernising our railway system, he added.

The chamber particularly commended the Railways for announcing several safety measures like the induction of indigenously developed Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS); improved safety systems with audio-visual warning to road users in advance of approaching trains; development of ‘crashworthy’ structural design capable of absorbing high impact loads in case of collisions/accidents; fire and smoke detection system to name a few. The BCIC also welcomed the proposals to bring North Eastern States viz., Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya on the rail map. Meanwhile, the people in North Karnataka were expecting a bonanza for the region in the budget this time, but were in for a disappointment as not much has come their way.

They had enough reasons to expect them. First, this being the election year budget, the UPA government was expected to be liberal in fulfilling the demands of the people. Second, Railway minister Mallikarjun Kharge is from Karnataka and that too from Gulbarga and he is supposed to be in the know of the necessities of the state and more so of north Karnataka. Third, the minister has the opportunity to fulfill the long-pending demands of the region as far as the Railways is concerned. The people of Karnataka have voted the Congress to power after a decade and hence the state too was pressing the Centre to meet the state’s demands.

While the people in Hyderabad-Karnataka are happy with the budget proposals, those in other parts of Karnataka feel let down. Hyderabad-Karnataka got a sizeable share of the new projects and trains in the interim budget announced by Kharge.

“Though not much was expected from Kharge in the interim budget, he being from Karnataka lost a golden opportunity. He concentrated on his constituency Gulbarga and the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections in mind and ensured that the region got several new trains and projects. The minister has failed to bring the Railways on the right track,” said Dharwad MP and state BJP president Prahlad Joshi.

“The survey of the new line between Dharwad and Belgaum via. Bailhongal has been completed. But, the minister has announced new survey,” said Suresh Kulkarni, a regular rail user.

For the line from Dharwad and Belgaum via Kittur. This is misleading,”

On the positive side, the backward Hyderabad-Karnataka region is getting several new trains. This will ensure that the region will be better connected with south Karnataka, Andhra and Maharashtra, apart from the national capital of New Delhi.