Hopes of better rail connectivity from Bidar to other parts of the State as well as neighbouring States have been rekindled after M. Mallikarjun Kharge was made the Railway Minister.
Long-pending demands include an overnight train between Bidar and Bangalore, a new railway line between Gulbarga and Bidar, upgrading Bidar to a terminal status to make it a starting point for trains, new lines between Bidar and some towns in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, and extension and change of timings of some trains.
Civil society organisation have also sought extension of the Kacheguda–Bangalore Train to Bidar or altering the timing of the Nanded–Bangalore express train to make it an overnight train. Railways have rejected the demand saying there is no terminal station in the district.
The Gulbarga-Bidar line sanctioned in 1994, is half complete. Of the 107 km planned, officials have laid 53 km of line between Bidar and Humnabad. Work on the rest of the line that lies in Gulbarga district is on.
The Railway ministry had sanctioned surveys for new lines between Bidar and Nanded in Maharashtra and Bodhan in Andhra five years ago. The surveys are yet to start.
“We will appeal to Mr. Kharge to take up all these projects on priority. He understands our problems better than most politicians. He also has an emotional connection to the district as he hails from Waravatti in Bhalki taluk,” Channabasppa Halahalli, Zilla Abhivruddhi Vedike president said.
“Bidar is among the districts with the least railway line length which indicates how backward we are,” B.G. Shetkar, Bidar Chamber of Commerce and Industries president, said. “In fact, there is only one line of around 110 kilometre from Methal Kunta in Bidar taluk to Kamal Nagar in Aurad taluk. This is in a district with a total area of 5,448 square kilometre. It needs to be increased and a network of railway line needs to be laid to ensure connectivity in all directions,” Mr. Shetkar said.
“It was Mr. Kharge who was instrumental in getting Article 371 of the constitution amended. We are sure he will address at least some of our long pending demands,” says Arshad Ali, the former MLC and editor of Bidar Ki Awaaz. He says that a vital project that remains neglected is connecting Hyderabad -Karnataka and Mumbai Karnataka through the Wadi-Gadag railway line.