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Rahul visit raises hopes on rail project

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Deserted: The railway station built by the British at Bargur. —
Deserted: The railway station built by the British at Bargur. —

R. Arivanantham

KRISHNAGIRI: Industrialists, public and political activists are eagerly hoping that Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Krishnagiri will bring the town under the Indian Railway network.

The advent of big industrial companies to Hosur has raised the standard of living of the people in this district. It has raised the scope for further investment thanks to favourable conditions and infrastructure availability. However, the absence of a rail link has been an impediment to the district’s industrial growth. People from all walks of life expect Rahul Gandhi to use his good offices to reintroduce the rail link that was established by the British between Tirupathur and Krishnagiri and was operated till 1942. It was closed as it was “not commercially viable”. The rail link connected Krishnagiri with Tirupathur.

Chinraj, who had travelled in the train from Bargur to Tirupathur, said the fare between Krishnagiri and Tirupathur was ‘two-and-a-half anna’ (15 paise). He said the revival of the train route would benefit the textile market in the region.

Some of the station buildings, employees’ quarters and rail bridges across the rivers on the Tirupathur-Krishnagiri sector still exists in a dilapidated condition.

In Krishnagiri, more than 300 families were settled on the railway land and was called ‘Railway Colony’. Some of the leaders said only Rahul Gandhi could bring Krishnagiri under the railway network. A rail link from Patchur, hardly 26 km from Krishnagiri town, could be extended up to Hosur and Bangalore. A satellite survey was conducted in 1998 to link Jolarpet with Hosur. The project estimate then was Rs. 147 crore. The project was cleared by the Union Government, but it did not take off.

As the pressure for the project mounted, the Centre ordered resurvey. According to the resurvey, the project estimate costs Rs. 225 crore.

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