‘Land acquisition a problem for Railways’

Broadgauge line opened: Minister of State for Railways R. Velu and Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa flagging off the Gadag-Bagalkot passenger train at Gadag on Saturday.  

Staff Correspondent

Velu urges State to clear hurdles for speedy implementation of projects

‘Work on Hubli-Ankola railway line will start soon’

Pralhad Joshi submits a list of demands to Velu

GADAG: Minister of State for Railways R. Velu has said that land acquisition for new railway lines and expansion of the existing ones has become a major problem. This has delayed many gauge conversion projects.

He was presiding over a function to inaugurate the Gadag-Bagalkot broadgauge line in Gadag on Saturday.

Mr. Velu said that since land acquisition had become a problem, the State Government should take steps to clear the hurdles for speedy implementation of railway projects.

Referring to the track doubling project between Bangalore and Mysore, Mr. Velu said that a heritage site had become an obstacle and requested the State Government to extend its cooperation to clear it.

Mr. Velu said work on the Hubli-Ankola railway line would commence soon as the Ministry of Environment and Forests had issued no objection certificate for the project. The Railways had allocated Rs. 869 crore to upgrade railway stations across the country. Work on many stations had been completed.

He said that the Railways had sanctioned a project worth Rs. 480 crore to Karnataka.

Ninety-five per cent of the railway lines in the State had been brought under broadgauge. All railway lines would be brought under broadgauge in two years. Referring to the success of the Railways in recent years, he said it had a surplus of Rs. 25,000 crore. If the same trend continued, the surplus would reach Rs. 1 lakh crore in five years.

Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who inaugurated the broadgauge section, said though the State was a pioneer in bearing 50 per cent of the expenses incurred on railway projects, it was being neglected when it came to sanctioning of new projects. The Centre had adopted a “step-motherly attitude” towards the State, he alleged.

Referring to various development works taken up by his Government, Mr. Yeddyurappa said 12 airports would be constructed in the State. There would be 11 airstrips and 22 helipads, he added.

Pralhad Joshi, Dharwad North MP, submitted a memorandum comprising 12 demands to Mr. Velu.

The demands included introducing new trains between Bangalore and Sholapur, resuming the services of Gol Gumbaz Express, introducing a night express to Pune and extending Janashatabdi Express up to Dharwad.

Minister for Health and Family Welfare B. Sriramulu spoke. General Manager of South Western Railway Praveen Kumar welcomed the gathering.

P.C. Gaddigoudar and K. Virupakshappa, MPs, and other elected representatives and Divisional Railway Manager of Hubli Adesh Sharma were present.