This year’s Railway Budget to be presented on Tuesday may sanction a few new trains to Karnataka, but it may take many years before they become a reality. Trains have yet not been introduced on some routes where all the works were completed more than two years ago.
For example, most of the works on the `437-crore Kottur-Harihar line taken up on a cost sharing basis, were completed in 2011. However, the railways is yet to get the Rail Safety Commissioner’s clearance to introduce trains on the route.
The state government had funded 67 per cent of the cost of the project which has been pending since 1995. The railways took up the project after the state government offered to fund the project in the process of implementing the Dr D M Nanjundappa’s report.
As land owners in and around Kurubarahalli, Ganganarsi, Hottaganahalli and Telagi were not satisfied with the compensation more than five years after their lands were acquired for the project, they prevented the railways from completing the work. Though the railways completed laying of a broad gauge line between Bangalore and Nelamangala in 2009, it has yet to introduce a train on the route. Similarly, the railways had completed works on the Hassan-Shravanabelagola stretch and trains were introduced in the line in 2008 for the Maha Masthakabhisheka of Lord Bahubali in Shravanabelagola. The trains were suddenly stopped due to some unknown reasons soon, and the services resumed only recently.
SWR General Manager Ashok Kumar Mittal said the villagers were obstructing completion of the works and had approached the court. “Though we have paid the enhanced compensation as directed by the court to over 240 landowners, we are unable to take up the works. We hope to resolve the issue very soon. We are planning to introduce trains on the Nelamangala route after we complete some pending works between Nelamangala and Solur as it would not be viable to introduce train services on such short distances,” he added.
Chairman of the High Power Committee for Implementation of Dr D M Nanjundappa Report Trivikram Joshi said if trains were not introduced on these routes, it was only due to a lack of political will. “The railways blames the state government and the state government keeps blaming the railways. Whatever is happening on the Kottur-Harihar route could have been overcome if there was a political will,” Joshi said.