Union Minister says he had met the Railway Minister 20 days ago

Union Minister for Corporate Affairs M. Veerappa Moily said he has hopes that the proposed Railway Budget would consider several projects for Karnataka.

He told presspersons here on Sunday that a lot of influence had been exerted for inclusion of many major projects of the State. “Because of the by-election I cannot announce anything now.” Mr. Moily said Karnataka would get maximum benefit from the budget and he had met Union Minister Dinesh Trivedi personally 20 days ago. Compared to the allocation made in the last three budgets, “this budget would be the best for the State,” Mr. Moliy said.

Dismissing allegations about lack of effort from State MPs to get allocation for Railway works of the State, Mr. Moily said the UPA Government did make allocations in the last two budgets to take up lot of surveys. This included the engineering-cum-traffic surveys for the new 70-km Belur–Sringeri line, 120-km long Padubidri-Karkala-Belthangadi-Ujire-Dharmastala-Nettan line, 2,000-km Baindur-Kollur-Halady-Hebri-Nettane line and 272-km-long Mangalore–Mysore via Madikeri line.

Mr. Moily said the State Government had not been coming forward to complete the projects taken up by the Centre. “The response of the State Government is very lukewarm.” Mr. Moily was here to attend a private function.

Freight charges

Mr. Moily said follow-up action was taken on the problems raised during Exporters Meet held in Mangalore recently. Among the issues that the Centre was looking into included reducing the high freight rate in Mangalore Port that was Rs. 25,000 a tonne more than what is collected at other harbours. Reducing the freight rate would bring operation of Mangalore Port on par with other harbours such as Kochi. Declaration of Mangalore Airport as an international airport was merely a technical issue as many international flights were operating from the airport.

Mr. Moily said the grant of international tag for the airport had been cleared at the official level. As Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh was busy with elections, the same was not announced.

“It's a matter of a few days,” he said and added that the airport had already received approval for cargo clearance.

Mr. Moily said there had been disenchantment among electorate of the Udupi-Chikmagalur constituency towards the lack of firmness on the part of the D.V. Sadanada Gowda Government in dealing with corruption.

As many as 18 Ministers were facing corruption and other criminal charges. The State Government was sleeping over the findings on the illegal mining report submitted by the former Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde, which had been accepted by the Supreme Court's Central Empowered Committee.

“The Supreme Court may come down heavily on the State Government (on the issue of illegal mining) for delay in taking action,” he said.

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