State government and Railways to work on Chikmagalur-Sakleshpur line on cost-sharing basis

M. Mallikarjun Kharge, Railway Minister, here on Sunday said that the new Chikmagalur-Sakleshpur rail line project would be completed in three years’ time. Land acquisition for the project has begun; the State government has released Rs. 15 crore to the Chikmagalur Deputy Commissioner.

He was speaking after laying the foundation stone for the project.

The project, valued at Rs. 645 crore, is being taken up on a cost-sharing basis by the State government and Indian Railways.

While the State will contribute Rs. 352.77 crore, the Railways will provide Rs. 292.33 crore. The 47-km line passes through Hadihalli, Belur, Bikkodu, Masavalli, and Halsugipetta to reach Sakleshpur.

Mr. Kharge said as Minister for Railways he had attempted to improve rail connectivity and services in the State. “We have announced only those projects which are practically viable,” he said.

Responding to the demand for a direct train between Chikmagalur and Bangalore, Mr. Kharge said he had announced a daily express between the two cities via Kadur. “I have announced 85 new trains. The Bangalore-Chikmagalur train is among them. All these trains will commence in the coming financial year,” he said.

Stating that Indian Railways was catering to over 800 crore passengers a year, Mr. Kharge said that enough attention was being given to passenger safety and increasing services.

D.H. Shankarmurthy, Chairman of the Legislative Council, opined that the Railway Ministry would have to use the public-private partnership model to complete ongoing works. “In total, Rs. 23,000 crore is required to complete ongoing projects in Karnataka. Even if Rs. 1,000 crore is earmarked every year, another 23 years are required to complete all works. Instead, the Railways should go for private-public partnership to execute its projects,” he said.

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