By BS Reporters
The Ministry of Railways has embarked on a rapid expansion of railway network in Karnataka on a cost-sharing basis with the state government to achieve the twin objectives of connectivity to the hinterland and economic growth of the backward areas.
The ministry and Karnataka government have taken up projects involving an investment of Rs 6,000 crore. The state government will provide Rs 3,600 crore, minister of state for railways K H Muniyappa said at the weekend.
Some of the significant projects / schemes now in progress include doubling and new lines such as the Tumkur-Rayadurga, Kudachi-Bagalkot, Whitefield-Kolar, Shimoga-Harihar, Kolar-Chikkaballapur, Hassan-Bangalore among others.
In the last three years, the railway ministry has sanctioned projects worth Rs 15,623 crore to improve railway infrastructure in Karnataka region, he said. This includes 356 kms of new line and 568 kms of track doubling. In addition a new line between Bagalkot-Kudachi has been sanctioned at a cost of Rs 980 crore. Of this, projects costing Rs 1,213 crore have been completed, which include 46 kms of new line, 97 kms gauge conversion and 107 kms of track doubling.
Muniyappa said the newly laid Kadur-Chikmagalore BG line, a part of the Kadur-Chikmagalore-Belur-Sakaleshpur BG Line project, is in the final stages of completion and would be commissioned later this year. The track doubling work on the critical trunk route from Birur-Shivani is in full swing and is likely to be completed in this fiscal. Other BG railway line projects like Hassan-Bangalore (Via Shravanabelagola), Tumkur-Rayadurg, Kolar-Chikkaballapur and doubling work between Ramanagaram-Mysore are being pushed on fast track to meet the deadline set for completion.
The proposal to lay a railway line between Dharwad and Belgaum via Kittur is awaiting the approval by Planning Commission said Muniyappa here. Presiding over the function to inaugurate the renovated railway station at Hubli, Muniyappa said when the proposal is cleared and the project implemented the new line would reduce the journey time between Dharwad and Belgaum by four hours.
The minister also informed that foundation stone for five new railway lines in Karnataka would be laid within next three months.
The new projects are Gadag-Haveri, Davanagere-Tumkur, Whitefield-Kolar, Kudachio-Bagalkot and Rayadurg-Raichur.
The much talked about Hubli-Ankola railway line project which has hit a road block following objections from the department of environment and forest would be expedited, Muniyappa said.
The work on the Mysore-Madikeri broad gauge line, being taken up on 50:50 cost sharing basis with the government of Karnataka, at an estimated cost of nearly Rs 700 crore, will begin in six months. The stretch between Mysore and Kushalanagar (90 km) will be completed in about five years’ time. The completion of this project will put the Madikeri district for the first time on the railway map of India.