‘Bangalore City and Yeshwanthpur cannot take more trains’

Railway Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge has said that the Railways was considering developing the Yelahanka Railway Station in Bangalore as a full-fledged third terminus to overcome the shortage of platforms at Bangalore City and Yeshwantpur railway stations.

Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, Mr. Kharge said that both Bangalore City and Yeshwantpur railway stations have reached the saturation point and more trains cannot be accommodated there.

“As passengers want trains to reach Bangalore City in the morning hours, it has become impossible for the Railways to meet fresh demands for new trains from different centres,” he said.

He said that the proposal for developing Yelahanka as a full-fledged terminus was still in the initial stages and the cost involved and other logistics would be worked out soon.

Mr. Kharge said that there was a proposal before the Railways to introduce a new train from Bidar to Bangalore, but as the demand is for a night train, the proposal was kept pending due to the non availability of platforms either at Bangalore City or Yeshwantpur in the morning hours.

To a question, Mr. Kharge said that the Solapur-Yeshwantpur superfast express, which runs on alternate days now, would be made regular train from September 15.

He told another questioner that there was no proposal before the Railways to establish a coach building factory in Gulbarga district, but the Railways would establish a Railways Recruitment Examination Centre here shortly.

Asked whether a supplementary railway budget would be presented this year, Mr. Kharge said that there were no additional funds available for presenting a supplementary budget. Moreover, the government has imposed a 10 per cent cut in the size of budget of all departments.

“However, we are hopeful of increasing the resources through savings and mobilisation of additional resources in the coming months and this would be used to fill the gap caused by the cut in the budget, he said.

Mr. Kharge said that the Railways was one of the biggest public sector employer and “I want the organisation to retain this status.”

The strength of permanent employees in the Railways had come down from 18 lakh a decade ago to 14 lakh now due to outsourcing of nearly 6 lakh jobs, he said.

To regularise the services of outsourced jobs, the Railways may require a huge sum and it may resort to resource mobilisation by increasing fares and tariff, though it is a delicate issue.

Shortage of rakes was another problem and the rate of production of coaches did not match with the number of new trains announced by the Ministry, Mr Kharge said.

About the new projects to be taken up by the Railways, Mr. Kharge said that the main focus would be on ongoing projects. He would try to find additional resources to complete them rather than hurriedly announcing new projects.

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