However, there has been a small shortfall in achieving targets
Railway Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge has said that the Planning Department has not indicated any cut in the plan size of the Railways for this year but the Railways is not getting the expected gross budgetary support for taking up new development work, including conversion to broadgauge, laying new rail lines and new overhead electricity lines. And, there had been delays in getting sanctions for projects.
Talking to The Hindu here on Sunday, Mr. Kharge said that although there had been a little shortfall in achieving the targets fixed for resource mobilisation during this year, the actual income of the Railways had gone up by more than 7 per cent when compared to the resource generated last year.
The shortfall in reaching the targets were mainly due to the ambitious resource mobilisation targets fixed this year and natural calamities leading to fall in revenue from passenger and freight rates. Added to this was the steep fall in the movement of iron ore and coal this year.
To a question, Mr. Kharge said that the presentation of a supplementary budget of the Railways during the winter session depended on the Finance Department. Although there was no proposal for announcing any new rail lines, the Railways can take up preliminary work of laying new rail lines for which survey had been completed and they are found to be economically feasible.
Referring to pending railway projects in the State, Mr. Kharge said that the survey of the proposed Gadag-Wadi new rail line has been declared feasible clearing the way for taking up the project providing direct rail connectivity between Hyderabad Karnataka and Mumbai Karnataka region.
Similarly, Ramanagaram-Chamarajanagar new rail line has been declared feasible. He said that the foundation stone for the Ramanagaram-Chamarajanagar rail line would be laid shortly. However, there would be some delay in starting the work of the Gadag-Wadi line due to delay in clearance from the Planning Department.
He said that a re-survey of the new line between Mysore and Kushalnagar was going on and if the State government agrees to share the cost on three-fourth basis and provide required land free, work could be taken up shortly. The State government has promised to solve the issue of land acquisition for the Bagalkot-Kudachi line. With the work on the new line connecting Gulbarga and Bidar being taken up, almost all districts, except Kodagu, will have rail connectivity.
To another question, Mr. Kharge said that the foundation stone for the construction of a new bridge across the Tungabhadra connecting Mantralayam with Matmari would be laid shortly and line doubling work would be taken up. On the construction of railway overbridges and railway underbridges, he said, “The Railways has sought additional funds from the Finance Ministry for ongoing projects and also taking up work on railway overbridges and underbridges.”
As per one estimate, the Railways may require Rs. 26,000 crore for meeting all demands for railway overbridges and underbridges in the country.
There is a need for constructing 1,860 railway overbridges and 4,800 underbridges in the country. While work on overbridges is taken up on cost-sharing basis, the Railways would have to bear the total expenditure of the underbridges.