BENGALURU: After a small puja was performed at the Nelamangala railway station (Bengaluru Rural district) on Sunday morning, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and Minister of State for Railways Suresh C Angadi flagged off the trial run of the first Roll-On Roll-Off (RORO) service of the South Western Railway via video link at 9.51 am.
The train, decked with flowers, is set to reach Bale station at Solapur district in Maharashtra, after travelling 682 kms within 17 to 18 hours.
The rake can accommodate atleast 42 trucks onboard its open wagons. The RO-RO service is unique in that trucks with goods are driven on special ramps onto open wagons of the trains at the boarding station and driven off them at the destination. Sturdy ramps have been built near railway lines at both ends.
Speaking at an event organised at Krishna, the CM's home office in Bengaluru before the launch, Yediyurappa said that by shipping 42 trucks bearing 1260 tonnes on each train, it is an eco-friendly transportation mode as the trucks will now go off roads.
“The trucks will reach their destination faster too,” he added. “Onions and food grains from Solapur easily reach the APMC market in Bengaluru,” the CM said.
Minister of State for Railways Suresh C Angadi said the service was much needed at an average of 7,000 trucks operated daily between Bengaluru and Solapur. Referring to the controversy-ridden Hubballi-Ankola Railway line approved by the Wildlife Board, on March 20 this year but stayed by the High Court on July 18, following a PIL filed against it by an NGO, Angadi called upon activists to back the project.
“Once the Ankola-Hubbali line is in place, it will be a great opportunity for the people of Karnataka. Both exports and imports will benefit. I request environmental activists who are obstructing the project not to do so as it is a very important project for the economy of the state and the country. More trees can be planted in place of those that will be removed,” he said.
General Manager, SWR, A K Singh said the RO-RO service would connect the four states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and a stretch of Telangana.
Each truck will be allowed a maximum of 30 tonnes with the freight charge levied by the Bengaluru Railway Division at Rs 2,700 per tonne for a round trip. The rake has been leased from Konkan Railway Corporation Limited.
Revenue Minister R Ashoka and Minor and Medium Irrigation Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi were present.