The state government has to release at least Rs 4,500 crore to complete 15 railway projects, including the Bangalore-Mysore track doubling, on cost sharing mode.
According to estimates, Rs 12,000 crore would be required to complete the cost sharing projects, which include the state government’s share of Rs 6,000 crore. In the last three years, the state government had allocated Rs 1,532 crore — Rs 600 crore in 2010-11, Rs 487 crore in 11-12 and Rs 445 crore in 12-13 — and the railways has utilised around Rs 1,400 crore. Going by the present trend, at least ten years would be required to complete the projects due to frequent cost escalations.
For example, the Bangalore-Mysore doubling project was estimated to cost Rs 313 crore when it was taken up in 2007-08. The cost escalated to Rs 600 crore in 2011 and according to the recent revised estimates, the project is expected to cost Rs 820 crore. Therefore, the state government should not only allocate more funds but also strive to convince the railway board to allocate more funds for the cost sharing projects. The railway board’s allocation was meager during the same period.
Apart from releasing funds, the state government should also ensure that the required land for completing these projects is acquired in time. The railway officials are waiting for the state government to hand over land for most of the railway projects.
Pashchima Karavali Railway Yathriabhivriddhi Samithi Member Anil Hegde said: “The state government should release more funds and also exert more pressure on the railway board to allocate corresponding funds to ensure that the projects are completed in time.”