The authority opposes construction under NH 48

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) appears to be creating hurdles in the work for the Bangalore-Hassan railway line.

The line was aligned to go under Bangalore-Mangalore National Highway (NH 48), near Kunigal and Balagangadharanagar (Bellur). The construction on either side of the highway is complete and a clearance from the NHAI is awaited.

While NHAI officials in the State have accepted the technical feasibility of the project that utilises box-type construction without disturbing the traffic on the road, the Director (Projects) of NHAI at New Delhi has not accepted it. Instead, he has asked the South Western Railway (SWR) to go over the road, sources said.

Going over the road at a height of 14 metres entails an additional expenditure of over Rs. 100 crore as tracks and minor bridges up to a distance of about 10 km on either side of the road have to be elevated. Moreover, the NHAI itself is constructing a railway overbridge for the SWR near Nelamangala using the cut-and-cover method, the sources said.

To an email query from The Hindu, NHAI Director (Projects) B.N. Singh said approval had been given to SWR to go over the road. He did not answer a query on the additional expenditure and the resultant delay in the project.

Meanwhile, SWR sources argued that the alignment was not new and was frozen much earlier to the NHAI taking over NH 48 to make it a four-lane road. The highway was earlier with the NH wing of the State Public Works Department when the alignment was frozen, they pointed out.

The work on the line, sanctioned during H.D. Deve Gowda’s tenure as Prime Minister, has entered the 16th year owing to meagre allocation of funds by the Railway Ministry. The Karnataka government in April 2010 offered to share half the cost of the project while agreeing to provide land for free.

Work between Chikkabanavara and Solur from the Bangalore end is almost complete.