Priority for completing long-pending projects, says Kharge
Union Minister for Railways Mallikarjun Kharge has said it was not possible to launch new railway projects for Karnataka, but priority would be given to expediting long-pending railway projects in the State.
He was addressing a gathering after laying the foundation stone for the doubling of the 245-km long railway line between Tinaighat and Hospet at Londa in Belgaum district on Saturday.
The Union Minister said at present there were projects for laying 2,500 km of railway line in the State, which included the doubling of 900 km of railway line. “This requires funds of Rs. 20,000 crore but only Rs. 1,200 crore has been allocated this year. At this rate, the projects will not be completed even after 20 years.” Mr. Kharge said at present only Rs. 900 crore had been sanctioned for Karnataka’s railway projects. “Steps will be taken to get Rs. 300 crore more from the Ministry and Rs. 300 crore from the State government. A meeting was held in this regard with the Chief Minister and he has agreed to do so. If the State’s share is released at the earliest, the projects can be expedited,” he said.
Mr. Kharge said the Railways Ministry had ordered for the construction of 15 rail overbridges out of the 60 planned in Karnataka in the current financial year.
The Union Minister said that he was aware of the railway needs and problems of North Karnataka and he would try to solve them.
He said the doubling of the 245-km long Hospet-Hubli-Londa-Tinaighat railway line would benefit the people of the districts of Bellary, Koppal, Gadag, Dharwad, Belgaum and Uttar Kannada districts. “It will help the industrial growth of Hospet and Bellary region and also benefit iron-ore export and coal movement. In addition it will promote tourism,” he said.
Mr. Kharge said the Railway Board had set aside Rs. 2,127 crore in the 2010–11 budget and the work had been entrusted to Rail Vikas Nigam Limited. Excise Minister and District-in-charge Satish Jarkiholi, Minister for Small Scale Industries, Sugar and Muzrai Prakash Hukkeri and Minister for Higher Education and Tourism R.V. Deshpande addressed the gathering.