Tuesday, Sep 30, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
Mr. Patil was responding to questions after reviewing the performance of the six-month-old zone and hearing the views of the delegations at the institutional and individual levels.
Mr. Patil said the zone was still in its infancy and it was trying to get over problems related to infrastructure and personnel. He expressed the hope that these problems would be sorted out gradually. Of the sanctioned staff strength of 957, the zone had only 347. Those transferred from other zones were yet to report for duty. As many as 100 officers from the South Central, Southern, and Central zones had been transferred to Hubli. He would approach the Railway Board to direct the officers to report for duty within one month.
The Railways had estimated that Rs. 70 crore was needed to provide infrastructure, including office buildings and residential accommodation. This was planned to be spent within three years. For the current financial year, Rs. 7.05 crore had been allocated, of which Rs. 1.55 crore had already been released. It was proposed to construct the headquarters building for which the Prime Minister had laid the foundation stone in February on the Railway land on the eastern fringe of the city. The Hubli Railway Station would be refurbished.
He said expediting the broad-gauge conversion of the Bijapur-Bagalkot-Gadag line would be his gift to the people of North Karnataka. An amount of Rs. 136 crore was required to complete the work. The Government had given Rs. 8 crore of the total share of Rs. 104 crore. There was no question of the work being slowed down because of the delay in making payments by the State Government. The Railways would go ahead with the work and get the money later on.
He said only two important bridges on the line needed to be converted to broad-gauge. One was across the Don and the other across the Malaprabha in Holealur. The bridges across the Krishna had been built to suit the broad-gauge requirements as part of the Upper Krishna Project. The work orders had been given for the construction of Holealur bridge which was expected to be ready within 13 months. Strengthening of minor bridges and tracks had already been completed.
He ruled out the possibility of special purpose vehicles (SPVs) being formed for executing the four projects in collaboration with the Karnataka Rail Infrastructure Development Enterprise, other than the one planned for the Hassan-Mangalore line. There was no need to go in for SPV for the Bijapur-Bagalkot-Gadag work.
For the Gulbarga-Bidar line, the Railways had deposited Rs. 5 crore with the district administration for land acquisition. The Munirabad-Mahbubnagar line project was being implemented by the South Central Railway.
He planned to meet the Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, to seek his cooperation in expediting the works. He would be visiting the South Central Railway headquarters shortly.
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