In a first of its kind initiative in the country Karnataka government has set up a high-powered co-ordination committee under the chairmanship of chief secretary S V Ranganath to monitor the progress of various railway projects in the state.
At a review meeting held today, chief minister B S Yeddyurappa announced that the committee would coordinate with the Ministry of Railways to review the progress on a monthly basis. He also urged the Railways to expedite projects in the state to avoid cost escalation.
Other members of the committee include officials from the departments of revenue and railway zone officials from Hubli.
“Though the Karnataka government has set apart funds for sharing cost with the Railways for taking up railway projects, it has not been possible to achieve any progress on expected lines,” Yeddyurappa told reporters after chairing a meeting to review the progress of Railway projects under implementation.
During 2010-11 the state released Rs 498 crore towards its share for railway projects but only Rs 276 crore has been utilised, he said.
Union Minister of State for Railways K H Muniyappa, who was also present at the meeting, said Karnataka had come forward to provide Rs 600 crore annually towards railway projects and cited land acquisition problems for delay in execution of some projects.
The railway network density is lower in Karnataka compared to other neighbouring states. As against the national average of 19.27 kms per 1,000 kms, the state has a network of 15.72 kms per 1,000 kms presently. Of the 176 taluks in the state, there is no railway network in 81 taluks. The state aims to develop railway network in all taluks eventually, the chief minister said.
Presently, the state government has released its share of funds for projects like track doubling between Ramnagar and Mysore, gauge conversion of Shimoga-Talaguppa, Kadur-Chikmagalur and Kudachi-Bagalkot lines.