CM asks Suresh Prabhu to clear Bengaluru Suburban Rail Project

From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network

New Delhi, Sep 24: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah called on Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and sought the Centre’s in-principle approval for the implementation of ambitious Bengaluru Suburban Rail Project.

The Chief Minister also urged the Union Railway Minister to ensure Central participation in the Bangalore Suburban Rail Co Ltd and said the project when implemented will be a ``real game changer’’ for the State.

Submitting a detailed memorandum submitted to Prabhu, the Chief Minister said the State Government has commissioned a feasibility study by RITES which has clearly demonstrated that the implementation of Bangalore sub-urban rail project on the available rail infrastructure.

The cost of providing connectivity is estimated to be Rs 8500 crore, Siddaramaiah said.

He explained that the proposed Bengaluru Suburban Rail Project would have a capacity to move 25 lakhs people, and hence would be a game changer. It would mark a major step towards fulfilling the long-cherished dream of people of Bengaluru and its hinterland, he said.

RITES has submitted the detailed project report after consultation with many stakeholders including Railways. It would be shared shortly with the Centre, the Chief Minister said.

Pointing out Bengaluru’s contribution to the SGDP, Siddaramaiah said the Centre’s clearance of the project would mark a major step towards fulfilling the long-cherished dream of people of Bengaluru and its hinterland.

The suburban rail project would greatly reduce the congestion in Bengaluru and enable the development of many satellite towns around the city.

While the Centre has already invested in suburban rail projects in Mumbai and Hyderabad, the Chief Minister said Bengaluru has been left out and urged the Union Railway Minister to set right the issue.

Bengaluru contributes almost 40 per cent of software exports which is one of the major sources of foreign exchange earnings for the country, he said and also urged the minister to give Central clearance for other pending railway projects of the State.

Hubli-Ankola Rail Line:

Siddaramaiah mentioned that Ministry of Railways had sanctioned the construction of a broad-gauge railway line from Hubli to Ankola for around 168 kms linking Hubli with the existing Konkan railway line in the year 1997-98.

The line will provide a direct rail link from North Karnataka hinterland to the west coast of our state. The initial work on a stretch of about 40 kms from Hubli to Kalghatgi has been done and an amount of Rs 117 crore has already been spent by the Railways.

Subsequently, the work could not be under taken up as the line passes through forest area and an appeal was filed before the Central Empowered Committee set up by the Supreme Court.
The Central Empowered Committee after nine years has sent a report recommending rejection of this railway line project.

“This project was already sanctioned in 1997-1998 and the foundation stone for this project was laid by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee,’’ the Chief Minister said pointing out that the total land required for this project is 1384 hectares, which includes 965 hectares of forest land in Dharwad and Uttara Kannada districts.

He said, ``I would like to bring to your kind notice that the State Government is very committed to protect our forests. In view of this, we have worked very diligently and revised the need for the forest land for this railway line and reduced it from 965 hectares to 667 hectares. Moreover, the State Government has suo motu hired the services of Indian Institute of Science, a most reputed institution of our country, which has given a very detailed report recommending the project and proposing stringent mitigation measures to offset the loss of forest area.’’

The Hubli-Ankola railway line is of utmost importance for the development of the backward region of North Karnataka as it connects the coastal Karnataka in the North to the hinter land. The Government of Karnataka is also seriously working at setting up a major port in the North of Karnataka at Belikeri or Tadadi with capacity ranging from 30 million tonnes of cargo per annum and above.

The railway line proposed between Hubli and Ankola becomesnthe most important feeder artery connecting the port to the industry being developed in the Northern and North Eastern Karnataka.

Although this route was very important earlier also because of iron ore transportation in this belt, I want to high light that this route retains the same amount of importance even after reduction of iron ore transportation as other cargo such as coal/coke, oil and gas, timber etc., is needed in a big way for the back end industries.

The significance of this railway line has been highlighted to the CEC, who visited the spot in December 2013, which has been acknowledged in their report. I may also submit that the Karnataka road capacity of NH 63 between Hubli and Ankola is very limited and is not a viable alternative and it causes much more pollution than a railway line, the Chief Minister said.

He further explained that the development of the projects Seabird, Kaiga nuclear power project, NMPT'S thermal power plant etc. and other large industries coming up in this area will benefit a lot from this railway line. If the cargo is transported from a port in North Karnataka through this railway connection, there is immense boost and savings for the industry which currently depends on Krishnapatnam Port, NMPT or Mormagao port leading to huge transportation costs and delays.


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Title : CM asks Suresh Prabhu to clear Bengaluru Suburban Rail Project


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