Earlier, it was perceived to be economically unviable and shelved

A question mark hovers over the future of the Mysore-Kushalnagar-Madikeri rail line project, for which there was a considerable push from a section of stakeholders in the region.

Although the preliminary engineering-cum-traffic survey for the new rail line was launched more than two years ago (in December 2011) and completed four months later, there has been no further progress. However, according to a railways document on the status of various projects and new lines coming under the South Western Railway, the 100-km line project seems to have been “shelved” by the Railway Board.

This was confirmed by a senior official of the construction wing of the Indian Railways. The official added that the board had shelved the project because it was perceived to be “economically unviable,” but clarified that it was being “revived” again.

“The State government has come forward to fund 50 per cent of the cost and provide land free, following which the project was sent to the Railway Board for a review. But we have not heard anything from the board so far, and will have to wait for the full-fledged budget after the new government comes into power at the Centre, to see if the project gets any financial allocation this year,” the official added.

When the survey was launched, the cost of the new rail line — expected to connect Mysore with Hunsur, Periyapatna and Kushalnagar in the first phase — was pegged at around Rs. 600 crore.

The then Railway Minister K.H. Muniyappa had averred that work on the new line would start “within a year” after the survey’s completion; however, the project did not receive any allocations in the two budgets that followed. The Railway Budget 2010–11 included the line under ‘socially desirable rail connectivity proposals’. However, given the pace of construction and the gestation period of the projects, it is anybody’s guess as to when the rail line will materialise, the official said.

Incidentally, the Mysore-Madikeri line was first mooted around 1881-82, according to the Mysore Gazetteer published by the State government. It also notes that two alternative routes connecting Mysore and Madikeri were suggested, but never took wing.

The first route was a branch line to Bettadapura and Kushalnagar, from the Mysore-K.R. Nagar main line.

The second connected Mysore and Hunsur, linked with Kushalnagar. It was for this route that the survey was conducted two years ago.

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