Union railways minister Piyush Goyal has written a letter to Karnataka CM B S Yediyurappa to deposit an outstanding share of Rs 847 crore for various railway projects in the state. However, timing of the letter to the cash-strapped state government amid the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a public outcry on social media.
In a letter to CM dated May 3, Goyal said: “Railways have taken up 16 projects on cost sharing basis in Karnataka, an amount of Rs 847 crore is outstanding towards share of Karnataka government in these cost share projects”. Further, he stated that: “Non deposition of cost share by Karnataka government is affecting execution of cost sharing projects in the state”.
He also asked to expedite the process of land acquisition and early handing over the land to railways for the projects and also for deposition of outstanding share of Rs 847 crore.
Goyal also urged for deposition of matching state share for financial year 2021-22 for cost sharing projects in Karnataka. Goyal said: “Railways have taken up 36 projects (21 new lines and 15 doublings) costing Rs 49,536 crore covering a length of 4,529 Km, falling fully/partly in Karnataka. These projects are in different stages of planning/sanction/execution”.
He said railways had deposited Rs 80.63 crore for acquisition of 608.21 hectares of land for three railway projects: doubling of Hospet-Hubballi-Londa-Tinaighat-Vasco-da-gama(352 Km) , 207-km Tumakuru- Rayadurga new line via Kalyanadurga and Ginigera and Raichur new line, but land is yet to be handed over by state government. “Non-acquisition of land is resulting in delay in execution of projects beside blockage of railway’s capital with the state government which otherwise could have been utilized for execution of projects in the state” said Goyal.
A senior South Western Railway official said the railway ministry has been conducting reviews and sending letters about the outstanding amounts to all states to reduce delays in railway projects in the state. “Some projects might have been completed a long time back but the state government must have failed to deposit its share of project cost” he added.