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Railways, state still at loggerheads over Suburban rail plan

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said on Sunday that there were some technical issues with the State government on the Suburban rail project for Bengaluru and a solution will be found for it.

Published: 03rd July 2017 08:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd July 2017 08:23 AM   |  A+A-

Union ministers Prakash Javadekar, Suresh Prabhu, DV Sadananda Gowda share a light moment during the dedication of road overbridges on Sunday| NAGESH POLALI

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said on Sunday that there were some technical issues with the State government on the Suburban rail project for Bengaluru and a solution will be found for it.

Speaking after inaugurating various projects at the Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna railway station, Prabhu said, “These issues came to the fore during talks on Saturday. We want to work with the State government closely and  take the Suburban project forward.” Another round of talks will be held on Sunday between the two stakeholders, he added.

A State government official said that the project was getting delayed because of the Railways.

“We want to call for tenders to procure the rakes or want Railways to do it for us.” Out of the Rs 360 crore allocated by the State government, a total of 80 percent is meant for purchase of the coaches. 

The Railways is stuck on the issue of forming the Special Purpose Vehicle. “They are willing to go ahead with the project only after this is in place,” he said. This is delaying the project right now, he added.

Union Minister for Statistics and Programme Implementation D V Sadananda Gowda called upon the Railway Minister to reconsider the proposed funding pattern of 80:20 (State:Centre) for the Suburban Rail.

“Including the cost of the land that will also be provided by the State government, the project cost comes to 90%. It is not possible for the State to bear such a high cost,” he said.

“From a budgetary allocation of Rs 783 crore in 2014-2015, the Centre has now provided Karnataka Rs 3,174 crore, which marks a four to five-fold increase,” Gowda added.

‘Hi-speed trains between big cities’

The Railways was looking at reducing the travel time between big cities by running high-speed trains, Prabhu said. Trains can run at a speed of 200 km/hr between Mumbai-New Delhi and New Delhi-Kolkata in future. High-speed trains are being considered for the South Corridor (Mysore-Bangaluru-Chennai) too and a German company is working on it, the Minister added.

Over the investment on infrastructure, Prabhu said that 40,000 out of the 50,000 railway coaches in the country are in the process of being replaced with new ones.



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