Bangalore, Feb 12 (IANS) Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah Wednesday lauded union Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge for presenting a pro-passenger interim budget with a slew of new trains and projects for his home state.
"The interim railway budget for ensuing fiscal (2014-15) has protected interests of people by sparing them from hike in passenger fares and freight charges. It is a growth-oriented budget for all-round development," Siddaramaiah said here in a statement.
Kharge represents the Gulbarga constituency, situated in the northern region of Karnataka, in the Lok Sabha.
Thanking Kharge for addressing the needs of the people, the chief minister said the proposal for survey of new lines, gauge conversion and doubling of tracks in the state would increase rail density and provide better connectivity for passenger and freight movements.
"Similarly, introduction of four 'Jai Hind' express trains, including three weekly ones between Bangalore and Jaipur, Patna, Katra in Jammu & Kashmir and a bi-weekly to Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala will facilitate greater movement of people across the country," Siddaramaiah said.
Kharge has proposed a survey for laying new lines across the state between Tiptur and Dudda, Challekere and KB Cross via Hiriyur, Bellary and Lingasugur via Siruguppa, Miraj in Maharashtra and Channarayapatna in Hassan district via Bijapur in the northern region of the state.
The railways has commissioned the line between Kadur and Chikmagalur (46 km), two broad gauge lines between Kolar and Chickballapur (85 km) and Hanumangarh and Sriganganagar (64 km) and completed doubling of tracks between Maddur and Mandya (19 km) and Birur and Ajjampur (18 km) across the state during this fiscal (2013-14).
Complimenting Kharge for responding to the long standing demand of the people to operate more intra-state trains, Siddaramaiah said the proposed five new services would meet the growing needs of passengers from other states and en-route.
In his 15-minute presentation, Kharge said of the 50 new express trains, five will run through Karnataka -- from Bangalore to Chennai (daily), Bangalore to Howrah (AC weekly), Hubli to Mumbai (weekly), Gulbarga to Hyderabad (daily) and Mysore to Varanasi (bi-weekly) and a fast passenger between Hubli and Belgaum in the northern region of the state.
The frequency of three express trains from Bidar to Bangalore, Hubli to Vijayawada and Hubli to Secunderabad has been increased to daily from three days in a week.
"Kharge has done a yeomen service to the people of the state though he took over the ministry only eight months ago (June 2013)," Siddaramaiah asserted.