Railway infrastructure development might take a back seat in the state as the Railway Ministry sanctioned only a meagre sum for the ongoing projects in Karnataka.
According to estimates made by the railways, at least `19,706.56 crore would be required to complete all the ongoing projects in the state. This includes `16,000 crore for completion of projects that were taken up on a cost sharing basis.
Every year, the state has been allocating around `400 crore for cost sharing projects, but the railways is unable to utilise it completely due to its inability to release corresponding funds. The state government has allocated `440 crore for 15 cost sharing projects in the 2013-14 budget. However, the railways allocated only `243.85 crore.
Therefore, the funds allocated by the state would go unutilised in the forthcoming financial year too.
The railway budget does not mention the funds that is supposed to be allocated for 15 projects that have been exclusively taken up by the railways. If the present trend of releasing miserly funds for the projects continues, it might take more than 20 years to complete them, some of which have been pending for the past 15 years. Popular projects like world class railway stations in Bangalore, Baiyappanahalli and Mangalore, setting up of medical college in Mysore and a engineering college for the wards of railway employees, convention centre, adarsh railway stations, dispensaries at important railway stations and allocation of land for automobile hubs that were announced by successive railway ministers have been completely ignored. Though the proposed coach factory near Kolar was mentioned, no funds were allocated for it in the budget.
Dakshina Karavali Rail Yathri Abvridhi Sanga Member Anil Hegde said: “Our hopes were shattered like every year. The meager allocation will not help in improving the rail infrastructure in the state. Every year the project costs keep increasing and the funds allocated in the budget would not even be sufficient to meet the rise in the project costs. Hence, the projects in the state will not be completed even after 25 years.”
Projects undertaken exclusively by Railways:
Bangalore-Satyamangalam, Marikuppam-Kuppam, Mysore-Chamarajanagar, Bangalore-Krishnarajapuram-Whitefield Quadrupling. Dharwad-Kambarganvi, Arsikere-Birur, Yelahanka-Chennasandra, Yeshwantpur-Yelahanka, Birur-Shivani, Hosadurga-Chikjajur, Shivani-Hosadurga Road, Toranagallu-Ranjitpura, Kuppam-Whitefield. Yeshwantpur-Tumkur and Hubli-Hebsur.
Fewer trains for state in this budget
Karnataka got fewer trains this year compared to the previous years. It got 19 new trains, including the ones that are extended in the 2013-14 Budget. Whereas, the state got 23 new trains in 2012-13, 26 new trains in 2011-12, 21 trains in 2011-10 and 20 trains in 20009-10.
Moreover, none of the projects from the state is listed among the projects that the railways have promised to complete in the forthcoming financial year.
Though four new projects were announced for the state, one of the projects - Chickballapur-Puttaparthi - was already announced in 2011. Therefore, the state got only three new projects this year. Karnataka has very few electrified lines and the work that is supposed to be undertaken in the state does not find a mention in the Budget. Though at least Rs 19,000 crore is required to complete all the projects in the state, the Railway Minister allocated Rs 243.85 crore ignoring the fact that Karnataka is the only state to fund so many railway projects.