BENGALURU: In a move that has surprised even top railway officials associated with the Suburban Rail Project for the city, the project cost has been revised to Rs 23,050 crore, up from Rs 18,621 crore estimated in the Detailed Project Report (DPR) and announced in the Union Budget on February 1. Though surprised at the upward revision in the Pink Book released by the Railway Ministry on Wednesday, Railway officials said that the project—which involves a total length of 148.17 Km with four corridors across the city -- is yet to be sanctioned by the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA). They also pointed out that only a token amount of Rs 1 crore has been announced, which attracted criticism from rail activists online and offline.
Deputy General Manager and Chief Public Relations Officer of South Western Railway (SWR) E. Vijaya said, “Necessary approvals are yet to be received for the suburban rail project. Once the DPR is approved, necessary funds will be made available. During various stages of budgetary review, requirement of funds will be projected. This is the most important project for us. Funds commensurate with the pace of work will be arranged from time to time in the proposed funding model.”
On the announcement of token Rs 1 crore, another top railway official said, “In the first year of any project, token sums like Rs 1 crore are always given to carry out preliminary works.” The SWR Zone has received one of its highest budgetary allocations of Rs 2,709 crore in the Union Budget 2020-21, reveals the Pink Book, which gives a detailed break-up of funds allocated to various railway projects in the state. Clubbed with a deposit of Rs 786 crore expected from the state government for new lines and road bridges, the total budget grant stands at Rs 3,495 crore, reveals the Pink Book. Another major allocation for Bengaluru is the Rs 101 crore for quadrupling of the Bengaluru-Whitefield line, which is expected to help decongest the city’s traffic.
Purse strings have also been loosened for these ongoing infrastructure projects across the State: ongoing work between Rayadug-Tumukuru via Kalyandurg (Rs 170 cr), Bagalkot-Kudachi (Rs 37 cr), Tumakuru-Chitradurga-Davangere (Rs 128 crore); Gadag-Wadi (Rs 156 cr) and Shivamogga-Shikaripura-Ranebennur (Rs 10 cr). A sum of Rs 6 crore has been earmarked for a coaching terminal at Koteganguru/Talaguppa.
Ongoing eight doubling projects received a boost and got maximum allocations: Hospet-Hubballi-Londa-Tinaighat-Vasco da Gama (Rs 225 cr); Hotgi-Kudgi-Gadag (Rs 200 cr) and Ariskere-Tumukuru (Rs 202 cr).