Several rail projects languish on South Western for want of funds

बंगलूरू Bangalore (SBC): With several projects of South Western Railways needing funds for completion, the funds allocated in the recent rail budget are grossly inadequate.

While the Centre announced Rs.1,576 crore for railway projects under South Western Railways, the ongoing projects require Rs.12,000 crore.

Sixteen new lines were announced in the past at an estimated cost of Rs 10,912 crore, of which only Rs.477 crore have been allocated so far.

Still Rs.8,439 crore are required for the completion of these new lines.

However, with no date set for completion of these 16 lines, coupled with slow progress, it has led to escalation in the estimated cost.

Similarly, for gauge conversion on four existing lines, the estimate was Rs.2,099 crore and only Rs.10.15 crore have been allocated.

The remaining amount is yet to be given.

Also, on 14 lines, doubling was announced at an estimated cost of Rs.4,510 crore and only about Rs.393 crore has been allocated, with Rs.2,551 crore still awaited.

“These projects take long time for completion as lot of technicalities are involved such as land acquisition, designing. Accordingly, approvals have to be taken from the competent authorities. Funds are allocated as projects progress in due course of time.”

Sanjeev Dyamannavar from Praja Raag said, “Some of these projects were announced 8-10 years back without any deadline mentioned. Therefore, projects take much longer to complete in the absence of pressure from authorities. Whenever a project is announced, whether it’s railways or any other, a specific timeframe should be given so that public can also benefit and the exchequer is saved from cost escalations. Funds allocation should be done based on yearly progress that can be made by railways, thus setting a target for themselves for completion of works in the pipeline.”