Union Railway Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge has ordered an inquiry into the alleged malpractice during the written test for Group D posts in South Western Railway in an examination centre in Hubli.

Referring to reports appearing in the press in this regard, Mr. Kharge said he had taken a serious note of the reported incident and if it is found to be true, corrective steps will be taken. Asked whether re-examination would be ordered for the students appearing in the examination centre where the alleged malpractices took place, the Minister said: “Let the inquiry be completed and we will take all steps to ensure that the genuine students are not affected.”

Mr. Kharge said the Railways conducted the recruitment examination in a very transparent and fair manner without giving any room for complaints of irregularities or favouritism. To a question, Mr. Kharge said the direct rail connectivity between Hyderabad-Karnataka region and the Mumbai-Karnataka region would soon be a reality with the proposed Gadag-Wadi new railway line getting approval by the Railways. Work of the preparation of the Detailed Project Report (DPR) has been ordered. Later, the DPR of the Gadag-Wadi railway line would be presented to the Planning Department for financial assistance. If financial assistance was not forthcoming this year, the Railways would consider taking up the project with available funds this year itself,” Mr. Kharge said. A sum of Rs. 10 lakh has been earmarked for the project this year in the budget.

Cost-sharing

He said the State government had sanctioned Rs. 250 crore out of a total of Rs. 700 crore as its share for railway projects taken up on cost-sharing basis in Karnataka. Of the sanctioned amount, Rs. 150 crore has been released. “The State government had promised to release its share and I am confident it will stand by its assurance,” he said.

Many States have come forward with proposals for taking up railway projects on cost-sharing basis. A few of them have even offered to share 75 per cent of the cost, Mr. Kharge said. “Not all these proposals have been accepted by the Planning Commission. Fortunately for Karnataka, all the projects proposed by it were accepted by the commission,” he said.

MNREGA funds

To another question, Mr. Kharge said Maharashtra was the only State to propose using MNREGA funds for railway projects taken up on cost-sharing basis. “Since the MNREGA funds cannot be released directly to Railways, the Railways will mark out the works that are to be taken up using MNREGA funds by the State government.”

The Minister indicated that there would be a slight delay in inaugurating the push-pull train between Bidar and Humnabad as the Commissioner for Railway Safety, who inspected the new railway line, had pointed out a few defects and South Central Railway officials have been given three weeks to set right the defects.

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