Karnataka on the threshold of becoming a unigauge State
Project completed at a cost of Rs. 197 crore
Chamarajanagar railway station also inaugurated
CHAMARAJANAGAR: The Nanjangud-Chamarajanagar broadgauge line was inaugurated by Minister of State for Railways R. Velu here on Tuesday. Regular passenger services between Mysore and Chamarajanagar will commence from Wednesday.
With this, the last railway terminus (Chamarajanagar) in the Mysore region on the State boundary has been connected with broadgauge railway line 82 years after the metregauge track was laid by the Maharaja of Mysore in August 1926.
It was in June this year that the stretch between Mysore and Nanjangud on the Mysore-Chamarajanagar section was thrown open for traffic following the gauge conversion work. The project was completed at a cost of Rs. 197 crore.
The last metregauge service in the section operated in January 2007 after which it was closed for taking up the gauge conversion work.
The Mysore-Chamarajanagar gauge conversion work (61 km) received approval and budgetary sanction in 1997-98 and the project cost was pegged at Rs. 85 crore.
However, the project cost escalated to Rs. 197 crore on account of delay in the implementation of work for various reasons, including construction of two major bridges on the Kabini.
The approximate cost of the work on the 36-km stretch between Nanjangud and Chamarajangar is Rs. 116 crore. There are 66 minor bridges and two major bridges in the section.
With the inauguration of this broadgauge line, Karnataka is on the threshold of becoming a fully “unigauge State” as the authorities are hopeful of inaugurating the Bagalkot-Gadag broadgauge services in 15 days.
Mr. Velu also inaugurated the new railway station at Chamarajanagar which has three platforms of 420 metres in length and other passenger amenities.
The project was important for the people of the region as improved connectivity to Mysore will help daily commuters in the region. The railway line is also expected to cater to future connectivity to places in the South, including Coimbatore and Mettupalyam in Tamil Nadu and Kozhikode in Kerala.
To enhance safety of road users, the railway authorities plan to construct a road overbridge near Mariyala Station.
In the course of the gauge conversion work, the Railways has improved the existing stations and halts along the route, provided new platforms, drinking water and toilet facilities, seating benches, etc.
Earlier, the local area MLAs and Chamarajanagar MP, M. Shivanna, described the project as a “dream come true” of the people of the region and exhorted the Minister to approve Chamarajanagar-Mettupalyam line and Bangalore-Chamarajanagar line via Kanakapura, Malavalli and Kollegal and sought Rs. 100 crore for the project in the next Railway budget. Mr. Shivanna said the Railways should explore the possibility of providing direct link to Satyamangalam and Coimbatore from Chamarajanagar.
In his inaugural address, Mr. Velu referred to these demands and said the Railways had sanctioned some of these projects but they had been held up as the Ministry of Environment and Forests had refused to give no objection certificate as the track alignment cuts through major forests in the region.
The matter had been referred to by the Supreme Court, and unless there was environmental clearance it could not be taken up.
Praveen Kumar, General Manager, South Western Railway, said the zone had completed three major gauge conversion works — Hassan-Mangalore, Mysore-Chamarajanagar and Bagalkot-Gadag.
He said the Ramanagaram-Mysore track doubling work would be completed in three years while the Tumkur-Yeshwanthpur double track work would become operational by December.