Electric train service waiting for a VIP inauguration. The facility was completed after years of delay and at a cost of nearly ₹210 crore.
MYSURU: Almost two months since the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) completed the inspection of the electrified railway track of between Mysuru and Yeliyuru and gave his clearance for operation of electric trains, the services are yet to commence much to the chagrin of the rail users.
During the Prime Minister Narendra Mod’s recent visit he said “It is only in Karnataka that 44 major projects work are going on — in the railways, or highways, and other infrastructure. It shows the Centre has given priority to infrastructure for the people of Karnataka. But under the State government’s leadership, it is not moving. Under the UPA government, only 38 km of railways lines were built. Our government has built 200 km of railway lines. We are committed to provide good infrastructure to Karnataka,” he claimed. However there is no mention on inauguration of the electrified line of Mysuru-Bengaluru section.
The Mysuru –Yeliyuru was the last stretch on the Mysuru – Bengaluru route and its completion has paved the way for the introduction of electric trains between the two major cities of South India.
Though the authorities prepared for a December 26, 2017, launch, and even the railway staff at both the divisional and the zonal levels were directed to prepare for the same, it was postponed at the last minute. There were speculations that the inauguration was postponed so as to get Prime Minister Narendra Modi to launch the same given the significance of the project, and that too in an election year.
Mysuru MP Pratap Simha had taken to Twitter on December 31, 2017 to announce that Mr. Modi would inaugurate the electrification. But he did not specify when. A few dates were being bandied about but it did not materialise and in the meantime, the Prime Minister’s visit to Bengaluru on Sunday was restricted to addressing a BJP political rally.
As a result, the facility completed after years of delay and at a cost of nearly ₹210 crore, is yet to be dedicated for public use. “Tax payers and the people of Karnataka have been badly served by the Railways and the State has not accorded the importance due to it,” said T.P. Lokesh, a resident of Bengaluru and a member of Karnataka Railway Vedike, who wanted the services to be launched on a priority basis.
“The people should not be made to wait for lack of time of VIPs and the services should be launched immediately while the ‘official inauguration’ could be held as per their convenience,” Mr. Lokesh added.
The electrification of the 139 km stretch between Mysuru and Bengaluru was expected to reduce the travel time between the two cities significantly besides eliminating the scourge of emission. But from the passengers point of view, an introduction of electric services also meant a possibility of increase in frequency none of which have been confirmed by the authorities. As a result, the full benefit of track doubling and electrification is yet to benefit the people of the region.
K.N. Krisnaprasad, who is also an activist of the Vedike, said electrification was a long pending demand of the stakeholders and now that it is completed, the people are yet to reap its benefits just because the VIPs do not have the time for inauguration.
At present, 24 pairs of trains (including non-daily services) run between Mysuru-Bengaluru but this is considered inadequate given the passenger rush on the section.