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Creation of Gulbarga Railway Division put off

By T.V. Sivanandan

GULBARGA, MARCH 9. The Railway Ministry, which had in principle decided to establish a divisional headquarters here, has postponed the formal announcement of the decision.

Official sources in the Railways told The Hindu that it was first planned to be included in this year's Railway Budget, but the idea was given up after the Centre decided to seek a vote-on-account. Later, the Railway Ministry planned to make an announcement after the dissolution of the Lok Sabha. But even this proposal was dropped fearing its adverse political fallout in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu, which had been pressing for new railway divisions.

Sources said there was no change in the decision to establish a divisional headquarters in Gulbarga. The Union Minister of State for Railways, Basanagouda R. Patil Yatnal, mooted the proposal. The Railway Board and the Railway Minister, Nitish Kumar, after studying feasibility reports, had given the green signal for the proposal.

The sources said the announcement on the constitution of the Gulbarga Railway Division was likely to be made in the full-fledged Railway Budget to be presented in the Lok Sabha after the elections.

The proposed division would come under South Central Railway based in Secunderabad. Gulbarga, Bidar, Raichur, and parts of Bijapur are likely to be included in the new division. No decision had been taken on Bellary and Koppal. There was opposition to including Bellary in the new division.

As far as the number of railway divisions is concerned, there is a disparity in the State when compared with other States. There are three railway divisions in the State for more than 3,150 km. of railway tracks. In Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh there are seven and six railway divisions, respectively. The average population per railway division in Maharashtra is 1.12 crore and 1.10 crore in Andhra Pradesh while it is 1.49 crore in the State.

Gulbarga, Shahabad, and Wadi railway stations together contribute Rs. 56 crore of the Rs. 204 crore revenue of the Solapur division.

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