Railway authorities have renewed its plea to Karnataka government to execute the long-pending demand for a new railway line between Talguppa in Shivamogga district and Honnavar in Uttara Kannada, a distance of 82.15 km, to provide connectivity between the coast and the hinterland.
Sources said that officials of the Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) met Home Minister Araga Jnanendra and officials of other departments last week and urged the government undertake the project either in 50:50 cost sharing arrangement between the State and Indian Railways or on public-private partnership.
In 2010, Southern Railway carried out the preliminary engineering-cum-traffic survey for a new broad gauge line between Talguppa and Honnavar to provide a link to Konkan Railways, and thereby link the Malnad region to neighbouring States of Kerala, Goa and Maharashtra.
Karnataka has a coastline of 300 km studded with ports between Karwar in the north and Mangaluru in the south, in three districts of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada. The proposed line would not only fuel new projects along the coast but also lead to a boost in tourism, sources in the Railways said.
The development of the proposed railway line would be crucial for development of major and minor ports along the west coast, such as Tadri, Bhatkal, Honnavar, Karwar. It will also serve the hinterland of Karnataka, by enabling mega projects based on transportation of coal and other industrial inputs from ports to the hinterland and transportation of iron ore, granite and other products from hinterland to ports, sources said. The proposed railway line has potential to increase both passenger and goods traffic.
The preliminary survey proposed six stations and four passenger trains (trips), sources said.
As per the 2010 survey, the estimated cost of the project was ₹1,511.86 crore. Now, the cost is expected to increase three times. The survey of land for the project is yet to be taken up.
Though the Centre mentioned undertaking a fresh survey in the 2016 budget, the survey and land acquisition process have not been taken up, reportedly owing to lack of political commitment from State and Union governments.