Land acquisition continues to be a stumbling block in the timely completion of sanctioned railway projects in the State.
While new projects — likely to be announced in the Railway Budget on Tuesday — may make stakeholders in the State euphoric, the gestation period for completion of new lines and projects takes decades and hence the focus should be on completing the ongoing sanctioned works.
As per official documents, the Kadur–Chikmagalur–Sakleshpur (93km) line was sanctioned in 1996–97 at an anticipated cost of Rs. 992 crore. The Railways placed a demand for 771.25 acres of land with the State government in July 2013 and Rs. 15.58 crore was released to acquire 161 acres in eight villages of Chikmagalur district.
The project requires 1,467 acres for completion and the authorities have so far acquired 695.75 acres. The rest is yet to be acquired.
The Bangalore–Hassan new line (166 km) was also sanctioned in 1996–97 and is being taken up on an equal cost-sharing basis (50:50).
The document states that there is 70 per cent physical progress. But, the project can be completed by March 2016 only if 40 acres of land is released by the government, apart from allocating Rs. 250 crore during 2014–15 and another Rs. 150 crore during 2015–16. The critical areas include acquisition of four acres in Bangalore rural, 31 acres in Ramanagaram and five acres in Mandya district.
The Rayadurg–Tumkur line via Kalyanadurg (207 km) was sanctioned in 2007–08 at an estimated cost of Rs. 1,744 crore. Being taken up on an equal cost-sharing basis, the Railway authorities aver that the project could be completed by March 2018 provided 1,295 acres was handed over by the State government and an additional 704 acres by the Andhra Pradesh government.
Sources in the South Western Railway said that though 47 acres of land near Tumkur was handed over to them in January 2014, work was yet to commence as farmers were agitating for higher compensation.
The Bagalkot–Kudachi line (142 km) was approved in 2010–11 with an anticipated cost of Rs. 986.30 crore. The authorities say the project is planned for completion by 2017–18 subject to availability of Rs. 240 crore a year and 2,068 acres of land from the State government. Against the actual requirement, the government has so far acquired only 382 acres.
The Munirabad–Ginigera–Raichur line (165 km) was approved in 1997–98 and is expected to be completed by 2017–18 subject to acquiring 1,119 acres of land by the State government and handing it over to the Railways. While the project requires 2,190 acres, the authorities have so far acquired 1,071.10 acres.
Among other ongoing works, completion of Bangalore–Mysore track doubling requires 22 acres of land, Shivani–Hosadurga line doubling requires 21 acres and Hosadurga Road–Chikjajur doubling work requires 55 acres.