New Delhi: Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday said it was wrong to establish a link between the proposed suburban railway network plan for Bengaluru and the upcoming assembly elections in Karnataka.
In the budget proposals for 2018-19, the Centre has given its approval for the construction of a 160-km long suburban railway network for Bengaluru.
On being asked whether the Centre had taken this decision keeping the assembly elections in Karnataka in mind, Goyal said Prime Minister Narendra Modi takes all decisions in the national interest and not because of elections.
"No, there are no elections in Mumbai or Delhi, where I have met with all honourable members and discussed about ring railways to provide a suburban service. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not taken a single decision considering elections. In fact, on so many occasions, we have argued to postpone any decision as there is potential election. He has always had only one question--is this in the public interest or in the national interest. We take any decision which is in the best interest of the country, irrespective of the time," he said during a question and answer session at the ANI-organised India Infracon 2018 conclave.
When asked as to why it took so long to implement the plan, the minister said, "The process of setting up of suburban railways in Bangalore was started by Sadanand Gowda ji. In 30 days one can't prepare a whole costing and detailing of suburban railways. Because the work was started during Gowda ji's time and lot of background work was done, I was able to expedite it and add the elevated corridor dimensions."
Earlier, he said that project would help deal with the heavy traffic in Bengaluru.
"On September 18, we visited Bengaluru, and on October 18, that is in 30 days flat, we had a plan before me on how this (suburban railway network) can be implemented," he said.
The suburban railway network is expected to serve a commuter population of between 25 to 30 lakhs every day.
During the Budget session 2018, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that a suburban rail network will come up at an estimated cost of Rs.17,000 crore "to cater to the growth of the Bengaluru metropolis."