HUBLI: Railway infrastructure in north Karnataka will take a boost with Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu launching several initiatives, including commencement of new line work between Gadag and Wadi (257 km) and doubling of Gadag-Kudgi-Hotgi line (284 km).
The initiatives, falling under Hubballi-headquartered South Western Railway (SWR), is not only expected to enhance rail connectivity in north Karnataka, but also likely to boost the economy of the region. Gadag-Wadi new line, which has been pending for several years, is also expected to reduce rail-road distance between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The launch will be through videoconferencing from Goa on August 18.
The 257 km-long Gadag-Wadi line passing through Koppal, Raichur, Yadgir and Kalaburagi districts and covering Yelburga, Kushtagi, Mudgal, Lingasugur, Shorapur and Shahpur is a prestigious project for the Railways.
The SWR said the line will help boost economy in the region and also play a key role in transportation of raw material and finished goods, besides serving travel needs of the public. Sanctioned in 2013-14, it is being undertaken at a cost of ₹2,841 crore under 50:50 cost sharing basis with Government of Karnataka. The government is also providing 3,472 acres of land required free of cost while 550 acres has already been handed over. The SWR has awarded contract for earthwork and minor bridges for 57 km between Talkal-Kushtagi at a cost of ₹85 crore. Acquisition of 640 acres of land between Shahapur-Wadi for 47 km line is in the advance stages.
Sanctioned in 2014-15, the 285 km Gadag-Kudgi-Hotgi line doubling will enhance the line capacity improving average speed. The National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd., which is executing the 4,000 MW thermal power plant at Kudgi, is funding part of the (134 km) project under “Customer Funding Model” by investing ₹946 crore. The Railways will reimburse the investment through freight rebate once the project gets completed in 2019-20. The entire project is targeted for completion by 2020-21.
Other initiatives include dedication of new platform shelters at Gadag Railway Station; inauguration of new building for Chikkodi Road Station in Belagavi district; inauguration of newly constructed platforms 2/3 at Koppal Railway Station; and inauguration of platform shelters at Raibag Railway Station.