Targeted completion of Railway projects in Karnataka sought

Bangalore (SBC): In the wake of the Siddaramaiah government’s reluctance to continue with the 50:50 cost-sharing Railway projects in the State that could derail over 26 ongoing projects, experts and Railwaymen suggest that the Railway Board and the government sit together and take up two or three projects in a year to take them to the logical end.

At present, there is no proper joint supervision of cost-sharing projects — the State government as well as the Railway Board release their share of funds — that are spread across the ongoing projects. At the end of the year, all the projects would register nominal progress, while the delay results in steep escalation of costs, sources in South Western Railway (SWR) said.

Stating that going back from the cost-sharing pact might send wrong signals to the general public, the sources said that two or three projects could be taken up in a year to achieve complete progress. Now, the State government releases about Rs. 700 crore and the Board an equal amount.

Though the Chief Minister recently wrote to Railway Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda to rework the cost-sharing agreement limiting the State’s share to 33 per cent of the project cost, including the cost of land, he later relented and said that the government was prepared to honour the commitment. With land becoming dearer, in view of the new land acquisition Act, and the delay by the Railways in executing the projects must have prompted the Chief Minister to seek a relook on the agreement.

Prioritise projects

Sharing similar views, Sanjeev Dyamannavar of www.praja.in said that important new lines such as Bangalore-Hassan, Tumkur-Rayadurg, Tumkur-Chitradurga-Davangere, Gulbarga-Bidar, Gadag-Wadi and Bagalkot-Kudachi, which would impact the economies of the respective region, should be taken up on priority.

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