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Updated: July 9, 2014 03:21 IST

Sadananda does a balancing act

Anil Kumar Sastry
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Many say he could have done more for his home State

Railways Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda in his maiden budget presented on Tuesday appears to have done a balancing act with regard to Karnataka. Though the budget is not completely disappointing, people feel that he could have done more with least difficulty.

Mr. Gowda, unlike his predecessors, has taken a bold step towards providing suburban railway system for Bangalore, though he has not called it by that name. While the feasibility report would be done within three months, Mr. Gowda has made the beginning by announcing two diesel electric multiple unit (DEMU) trains — one to Hosur and another to Tumkur, and a mainline electric multiple unit (MEMU) service with three sets of trains to Ramanagaram.

The Minister did not announce creation of a railway division for Mangalore or bringing Mangalore region under Konkan Railway, which has been a long-pending demand. Mr. Gowda, who was in the forefront of the struggle demanding a railway division for Mangalore, announced doubling the line between Ullal and Surathkal.

Mr. Gowda also announced 12 new trains in addition to 12 announced by his predecessor, M. Mallikarjun Kharge, on February 12.

Mixed reactions

Terming it a pragmatic budget, Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry member Prakash Mandoth said coaching terminal at Byappanahalli, WiFi at important stations, and setting up of project management group and project monitoring and coordination groups were welcome steps. At the same time, the new lines for shorter routes between Hubli and Belgaum via Kittur and Tumkur and Davangere via Chitradurga should have been given prominence, he said.

Retired Central government officer K.N. Krishnaprasad said Mr. Gowda should have announced doubling of the Yelahanka–Penukonda trunk line and creation of Mangalore railway division.

The All India Loco Running Staff Association said the budget did not give much importance to infrastructure augmentation.

Deadlines

Though Mr. Gowda said it was not a populist budget, he has attempted to help Karnataka improve its railway network. Strict deadlines have been fixed for completing Bangalore–Mysore track-doubling (March 2015) and new line between Bangalore and Hassan (March 2016), the Minister told reporters. The new line surveys ordered by him would cater to a large section of society, he said.

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