Railway ministry rolls out Rs 500 crore plan for Karnataka

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Railway ministry rolls out Rs 500 crore plan for Karnataka

The railway ministry has announced a big bonanza for pollbound Karnataka.

The railway ministry has announced a big bonanza for pollbound Karnataka.

It has rolled out Rs 500 crore plan for decongestion of the suburban rail corridor from Bengaluru city to Whitefield, the major IT hub in the city.

The ministry has planned quadrupling the existing rail corridor in the suburb that will benefit nearly 62,000 commuters, according to estimates.

With the impending assembly elections in sight, the Centre had also announced Rs 17,000 crore for developing a suburban rail network in and around Bengaluru to get the city rid of traffic congestion. Development of existing railway stations has also been announced by the railway ministry.

Sources said with the slew of infrastructure projects, the BJP will have an edge in the upcoming elections.

The ministry of road transport and highways is also executing large-scale highway projects in Karnataka and other pollbound states.

According to the railway ministry officials, the projects in Bengaluru will begin immediately and have been targeted to be completed in two-three years.

"Ministry of railways has sanctioned the quadrupling project with the provision of two additional lines (one on either side of the existing two lines) from Bengaluru Cantt to Whitefield at a cost of `492.87 crore. This will benefit thousands of daily commuters, particularly the youth employed in the IT hub," an official said.

As a measure to ease the congestion, it has been decided to strengthen the busy section with two additional lines between Bengaluru and Whitefield. This 25 km stretch will include six most important stations - Bengaluru Cantonment, Bengaluru East, Baiyyapannahalli, Krishnarajapuram, Hoodi and Whitefield.

"This will benefit 62,000 daily commuters in this section by making commuting within Bengaluru easy and faster," railway official claimed.

At present, nearly 250 trains run from Bengaluru and Yesvantpur stations, of which, 122 trains are of suburban nature catering to local commuters.

Officials said the project of quadrupling Bengaluru - Whitefield corridor was sanctioned during 1997-98 but was pending due to issues of land unavailability and cost constraints.

Though the urban development ministry had recommended for transit-oriented development (TOD) of Krishnarajapuram and Whitefield stations and extension of Bengaluru Metro, it was decided to drop the quadrupling project considering its non-viability.

Karnataka assembly election is crucial for BJP as it open BJP's account in the Southern India. The party is sparing no effort to make inroads in the south Indian states including Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.

In the General Budget, finance minister Arun Jaitley had announced the suburban railway network in Bengaluru on the lines of "Mumbai local".

The railway ministry has also sanctioned works worth nearly Rs 1,500 crore for capacity expansion in and around Bengaluru over the last two-three years. These works have been sanctioned by the railway ministry on cost sharing basis with the state government.