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Keeping track doubling project in abeyance irks parishat

By Our Staff Correspondent

MYSORE, MARCH 25. The Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) has expressed displeasure over holding up of the much-needed second railway track between Mysore and Bangalore, which is expected to benefit passenger and freight traffic.

Dispute

Doubling of the Mysore-Bangalore railway line at a cost of Rs. 300 crores has been held up owing to a dispute between the State Government and the Railways over sharing the financial burden. While the State Government is keen on sharing the financial burden at a ratio of 50:50, the Railways is insisting that the former bear 60 per cent of the cost. Though doubling of the railway track has been completed between Bangalore and Ramanagaram, the dispute over sharing the financial burden has stopped the project.

With the bone of contention narrowing down to a mere Rs. 30 crore, the MGP said that it is unfortunate that the project has been stopped because of the dispute.

In a statement issued here, the parishat President, Maj. Gen. (retd.) S.G. Vombathkere, said the State Government or the Railways can generate Rs. 30 crores.

Demand

The demand to double the railway line is a long-standing one. It may not be a difficult task for the Deputy Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah, to earmark Rs. 30 crores in the budget for the project. Similarly, mobilising Rs. 30 crores is not a big task for the Karnataka Railway Corporation, he added.

Instead of stalling the project, the Railways and the State Government should proceed with it. Funds can be generated by the State Government or the Railways persuaded to bear the 10 per cent project cost, he said.

BMIC

Mr. Vombathkere referred to the controversial Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project and said: "That the doubling of the railway line at a cost of Rs 300 crore will greatly benefit Bangalore and Mysore for passenger and freight traffic is beyond doubt, though it might get in the way of the financial success of the Rs. 2,000-crore BMIC project." The option of rail travel, in reduced time after doubling the railway track, is perceived to hit the financial success of the BMIC, which is a toll highway.

Disappointed

People of Mysore were disappointed when the State Budget presented by Mr. Siddaramaiah did not allocate funds for the completion of the project.

Mr. Siddaramaiah said the State Government has written to the Railways to bear the entire cost of the project.

However, the Deputy Chief Minister gave a ray of hope when he said the State Government will take up the project on its own if the Railways turns down the proposal.

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