Mr. Kharge, who laid the foundation stone here for the Rs. 350-crore railway line doubling work between Gulbarga and Hotgi railway stations, said that while Karnataka had 16 per cent railway lines for every 1,000 sq km of area, Bihar, which topped the country, had 38 per cent railway lines for 1,000 sq km area.
He said that Haryana and Assam were the two other States with high growth of railway infrastructure. While Haryana had 34 per cent of railway lines for every 1,000 sq km area, Assam had 31 per cent railway lines for every 1,000 sq km area. Andhra Pradesh had 19.4 per cent railway lines per 1,000 sq km and Maharashtra 18.20 per cent railway lines per 1,000 sq km.
“It would be impossible for Karnataka to match the kind of development that had taken place in Bihar, Haryana or Assam. It would take a great amount of investment to match the railway infrastructure available in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh,” Mr. Kharge said.
“I have very little time left before the next Lok Sabha elections but I have initiated steps to bridge the gap in railway infrastructure development in Karnataka,” he added. Mr. Kharge said that the line doubling between Gulbarga and Hotgi would help the Railways to increase the speed of existing trains and also run more new trains on the Mumbai-Chennai and Mumbai-Bangalore route. This work would be completed within 30 months, he said.
Referring to the Bidar-Gulbarga railway line which has been going on from the last 14 years and yet nowhere near completion, Mr Kharge claimed after taking over the reigns he has ensured adequate funds for the particular project in this year. “This year we have provided one fourth of the cost of the project. This year’s allocation is equal to cumulative allocations in the last 10 years. At this rate of funding, the Bidar-Gulbarga line may be completed in three and a half years’’ Mr Kharge explained
Mr. Kharge said that it had been decided to take up a survey to prepare a detailed project report for the proposed Wadi-Gadag new railway line to provide connectivity between Hyderabad Karnataka region and Mumbai Karnataka region. The project would be taken up on cost-sharing basis between the Union and State governments.
General Manager of Central Railways B.P. Khare welcomed the gathering. The former Chief Minister and MP N. Dharam Singh and MLC Allamprabhu Patil spoke.