Railways to soon begin survey for south-south corridor

Bangalore, Feb 27 (Calcutta Tube) The Indian Railways will soon undertake an engineering-cum-traffic survey for building the ambitious south-south freight corridor covering Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Goa, Minister of State for Railways K. H. Muniyappa said Saturday.

‘As freight is a major source of revenue for us, we will conduct the preliminary survey this year for the south-south corridor,’ Muniyappa told reporters here.

Three days after Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee presented her budget for 2010-11 Feb 24, Muniyappa, who hails from Karnataka, said as part of its commitment to the social sector, the railways transported essential commodities to areas affected by natural calamities free of cost or at a substantial loss.

‘We will also undertake survey across the state to extend the rail network to socially desirable areas in four sections – Mysore-Madikere, Gadag-Harihar, Thalasery-Mysore and Tumkur-Davanagere,’ he said.

Of the total budget outlay of Rs.41,426 crore for the new fiscal, the South Western Railway (SWR) has been allocated Rs.1,450 crore as against Rs.1,026 crore in the current fiscal, an increase of 41 percent year-on-year for new lines, gauge conversion, doubling of tracks and passenger amenities.

‘Survey for 12 new lines spanning 1,163 km across the state will be take up at a cost of Rs.3.5 crore. In addition, Rs.1,233 crore will be allocated for four new projects, including electrification of Guntakal-Bellary-Hospet-Vasco da Gama,’ the minister said.

The state government will contribute Rs.629 crore over the next five years to the four projects while the railways will provide Rs.176 crore in the new fiscal.

‘In all, 32 projects are at various stages of execution in the state consisting new lines, gauge conversion, doubling (of tracks), electrification and more amenities for millions of passengers,’ Muniyappa said.

The Kadur-Chikmagalur section of Kadur-Sakleshpur project, announced by former prime minister Indira Gandhi way back in 1978, is expected to be completed in 2010. The SWR has allocated Rs.40 crore for the final phase of the project with a matching contribution by the state government.

The SWR will also take up doubling of Hosdurga Road-Chikjajur, Hospet-Hubli-Londa-Vasco da Gama, Birur-Shivani and electrification of Shoranur-Mangalore-Panambur in the coastal area.

‘We will take up seven new projects in the state at an estimated cost of Rs.4,326 crore on cost-sharing and PPP (public-private partnership) model with the state government contributing Rs.1,313 crore over the next five years. One of the project involves laying separate lines to the Karwar port, which is being expanded and upgraded,’ Muniyappa said.

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