The inordinate delay in the execution of the ongoing Gulbarga-Bidar railway line project is hampering economic development in Hyderabad-Karnataka region, said BJP leader and former chairman of the Hyderabad-Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Amaranath Patil.
Patil told Express that the `360 crore project needs to be completed on priority basis for the welfare of the residents of the region. He said that the H-K region is the largest cement manufacturing region in the country. He said, “Once the 120 km railway line is commissioned, the distance between Bangalore and New Delhi will be reduced by over 300 km.” The railway line will bind the region with the rest of the country, he said.
He said the railway line will open up windows of opportunities for the region in terms trade and commercial activities. He regretted that the railway line project was pending for more than a decade. Earlier the project was estimated to cost `360 crore but now the cost has escalated to `900 crore, he said.
He blamed lack of political will in the past as the main reason for the delay and said that despite the project being included under the state government’s cost sharing category with the Centre, the process of land acquisition is yet to be completed. Following the cost escalation, the state government and the Railways had to release additional grants of over `365 crore to expedite the project, he said. He said that the total requirement of land identified for the project was about 1,893 acres and so far about 1,731 acres was acquired.
Informing that he had taken up the matter with Infrastructure Minister Roshan Baig, he said, “He (Baig) promised to put the project on fast lane and also assured to release additional funds.” Congress leader Allam Prabhu Patil said that the work gained momentum when Mallikarjun Kharge was the union railway minister.
“He (Kharge) not only released additional funds but also took personal interest in monitoring the progress,” he said. Expressing confidence that Chief minister Siddaramaiah will take up the matter with Union Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda, he said, “If necessary strong public opinion will be mobilised to press for the early completion of the work.” He said that the project work from Bidar to Gulbarga border was complete and a passenger train had been flagged off between Bidar and Humnagad during Kharge’s tenure. He said delay in construction of a bridge across the backwater of Bennethore reservoir and tunnel works near Margutti are the major hurdles, he said.