BENGALURU: The exact date for the opening of the new railway line between Nelamangala and Sharavanabelagola is yet to be finalised. A proposal to open the line via video link from New Delhi on March 9 by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu was shelved as Chief Minister Siddaramaiah conveyed his inability to take part in the inaugural function at Yeswanthpur. The upcoming state budget was cited as the reason.
The Commissioner of Railway Safety had given the green signal for commencing operations along the 111-km line, part of the Bengaluru-Hassan project, on February 21. Sources said that former Prime Minister Deve Gowda was keen on Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurating it. However, that did not materialise.(see box). Meanwhile, it was decided that Suresh Prabhu will inaugurate it in the presence of Deve Gowda, who had announced the project when he was Prime Minister during 1996-1997.
It was a frantic week at the Railways last week when they were told to get ready to commence running of trains on March 9. “Station masters, pointsmen and ticket booking staff were posted along the 11 stations enroute and everything was in place to ensure that trains can be run on the route,” said a top railway official.
“The CM wrote to the Railway Ministry conveying his inability to take part in the inauguration due to the upcoming budget and has asked for an inaugural date after March 15,” said E Vijaya, Deputy General Manager, South Western Railways, Hubballi.
Ashok Gupta, Chief Administrative Officer, Constructions, SWR, said, “Both the Railways and the state government are equally sharing the cost of the new line (`1,289 crore).”
When commissioned, it will take an Express train just 10.5 hours to cover the distance between Bengaluru and Mangaluru, about 90 minutes shorter than the present shortest route. w