Special Correspondent

Upgrading of Raichur-Gadwal railway line urged

‘Government hospital needs neo-natal facilities’

Bangalore: Syed Yaseen, Congress MLA, has urged Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa to develop the 398 acre airstrip at Raichur into an airport.

Participating in the debate on the State Budget in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, Mr. Yaseen thanked Mr. Yeddyurappa, who was in the House, for announcing that airports would be developed in ten more districts at a cost of Rs. 4 crore each.

He said that the airstrip, where the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had landed during his visit in 1957, had been abandoned and it should be developed into a full-fledged airport.

Mr. Yaseen urged for upgrading the Raichur-Gadwal railway line.

The Raichur Thermal Power Station (RTPS) was contributing 1470 MW to the State grid and some medical and engineering colleges. It also had Asia’s second largest cotton market. These aspects made it necessary for Raichur to have better air connectivity, he said.

When Mr. Yaseen spoke in English, Speaker Jagadish Shettar, the former Deputy Chief Minister Siddaramiah and BJP MLA C.T. Ravi, advised him to speak in Kannada. But his party colleague and the former Minister Qamarul Islam pleaded that he be allowed to speak in English.

Mr. Islam said that he and Mr. Yaseen were from Gulbarga and Raichur districts, respectively, which are a part of Hyderabad Karnataka region and they could not speak Kannada fluently. However, he said that though Urdu was his mother tongue, he was proud to call himself a Kannadiga. He said that the government maternity hospital needed neo-natal facilities as of 130 children born there more than 20 had died at the neo-natal stage. He urged for measures to control pollution by the RTPS and cement factories in Raichur and neighbouring areas.

Mr. Yaseen thanked Mr. Yeddyurappa for announcing another agricultural university at Raichur.