Land acquisition for Tumkur–Davangere line yet to get Cabinet approval
The State government is said to be lukewarm to new railway lines sanctioned on cost-sharing basis as it is going slow on land acquisition for such projects.
One of the classic cases is the 199.7-km Tumkur–Davangere line, which was announced in the 2011–12 Railway Budget and sanctioned by the Railway Board in October 2013.
The cost of the project is Rs. 1,837 crore. The Railway’s share is Rs. 856 crore and the State government’s share is Rs. 980 crore, including the land acquisition cost of Rs. 124 crore.
Though the new line will provide connectivity to the proposed National Investment Manufacturing Zone (NIMZ) near Tumkur, which is expected to provide jobs to over 1.6 lakh people, the State Cabinet is yet to approve land acquisition for the project.
The NIMZ is proposed on 14,091 acres of land in Tumkur and Sira taluks abutting National Highway 4 and is expected to attract an investment of over Rs. 35,000 crore with an anticipated annual turnover of about Rs. 80,000 crore.
The proposed railway line passes through the NIMZ. The station is proposed at Thimmarajanahalli.
A series of letters has been exchanged between the South Western Railways, special land acquisition officers in Tumkur and Davangere districts, and the Infrastructure Development Department to hasten land acquisition. However, land is yet to be handed over to the South Western Railways, though it sent the first proposal for acquisition of 324 acres of land in Tumkur district to the government in December 2012.
While the government is yet to appoint special land acquisition officers for the project, land acquisition officers in charge of other projects were given additional responsibility. Letters by these officers seeking release of funds for land acquisition too have not received any response from the government, sources in the South Western Railways told The Hindu.
Chief Secretary Kaushik Mukherjee told The Hindu that the government’s priority was to complete the doubling of the Bangalore–Mysore line. The other projects would be attended to on the basis of their economic viability, industrial improvement and employment generation. Karnataka was the first State in the country to opt for cost-sharing in projects to augment the railway network.