Bangalore(PTI): Railways and Karnataka government today decided to spend an additional Rs 600 crore in the current financial year to expedite work on rail projects in the state.
Union Railway Minister M Mallikarjuna Kharge told reporters after a meeting with senior Railway and State government officials that the Centre would give an additional Rs 300 crore for the state, which would also chip in with an equal amount to take up those projects on a “war-footing”.
“It’s now possible to spend an additional Rs 600 crore this year,” Kharge, who hails from the State, said.
The State government has promised to resolve disputes relating to land acquisition that hampered rail expansion on a priority basis, the Minister said.
Karnataka has a share of Rs 900 crore in the Union Railway budget 2013-14 for rail projects and if one were to include electrification and doubling of tracks, it would top Rs 1200 Rs 1300 crore, according to him.
The rail projects which would be taken up for early completion include Kadur-Chikmagalur, Kolar-Chikkaballapura, Gadwal-Raichur, and Bidar-Gulbarga.
Kharge also ruled out increasing rail fares this year in view of diesel price hike.
“There is no such proposal, and fares would not be raised. We will take on ourselves the burden vis-a-vis any amount of increase in diesel and petrol prices and will not pass it on to passengers. So, as of now, there is no increase in rail fares this year,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, a senior Railway Board official said server capacity of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is being increased so that the “problem of not getting connection (for ticket reservation) will get resolved”.
Karnataka PWD Minister H C Mahadevappa, Chief Secretary S V Ranganath, Principal Secretaries of Finance, Revenue, Infrastructure and Urban Development, and key officials of Central Railway, South Central Railway and South Western Railway were present at the review meeting.