Saturday, February 23, 2008

Demand for direct rail link

Source The HINDU 22 feb 2008

BANGALORE: The State Government has urged the Ministry of Railways to sanction new direct lines between important cities in the State, even while asking the Ministry to give priority for completion of projects being undertaken on a cost-sharing basis in the 2008-09 Railway Budget.
The Government said important cities such as Tumkur, Chitradurga, Davangere, Dharwad and Belgaum lack direct rail connectivity.
As a result, trains — passenger and goods — have to take circuitous routes which waste valuable time and energy.
While Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, during his recent Tumkur visit, had promised a direct line between Tumkur and Chitradurga, the State Government has asked the Railways to extend it up to Davangere. Similarly, a direct line should be laid between Dharwad and Belgaum. As things stand, the journey via Londa Junction takes three-and-a-half hours while it is just one hour and fifteen minutes by road. Hence, the Government has sought a new line via Kitur and Bailahongala.Many projects
Karnataka is the only State which has taken up projects on a cost-sharing basis in large numbers (six of them, in fact) while other States have one or two projects. Hence, according to the Government, the Railway Ministry should accord priority to projects in Karnataka.
Besides speedy completion, the Government has also demanded an inter-city train between Bangalore and Shimoga, besides new lines between Belagum-Bagalkot-Raichur and Chamarajanagar-Kollegal-Kanakapura-Bangalore. It wants the Ministry to allocate sufficient funds for ongoing projects being undertaken by the Railways, the Government said.State’s requirements
Principal Secretary to Government (Infrastructure Development), V.P. Baligar told The Hindu that Governor Rameshwar Thakur had already written to the Ministry bringing to its notice various demands of the State. Chief Secretary Sudhakar Rao, who recently visited New Delhi, briefed the Cabinet Secretary about the railway needs of the State, he added.
Mr. Baligar said doubling of Bangalore–Mysore line (completed between Bangalore and Ramanagaram) and Gadag–Sholapur line (nearing completion); new lines between Harihar– Kottur; Bidar–Gulbarga; Munirabad–Mehaboobnagar and gauge conversion between Shimoga and Talaguppa were being undertaken on a cost-sharing basis.
Apart from these, the Railways, on its own, is undertaking construction of new lines between Shravanabelagola – Bangalore and Kadur – Chikmaglur – Sakaleshpur and the process should be speeded up, the Government told the Railways.

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