Bengaluru: First it was December 26, 2017, then January 26-28, 2018 and now it is sometime around February 4. These are the dates doing the rounds for the inauguration of the Bengaluru-Mysuru Railway line's doubling and electrification works.
Commuters between the two cities are frustrated by the delay, which is rumoured to be because of the wait for PM Narendra Modi's arrival in Karnataka. Deputy General Manager and CPRO of South Western Railway E. Vijaya said, “It was supposed to be towards January-end, but we have not heard from the Railway Board yet. We too are waiting to inaugurate this section.”
Krishna Prasad, a member of Karnataka Railway Vedike, said, “This is a criminal waste of money, being done for political credit. It has been more than a month since the safety certificate was given. Around Rs 50,000 is being burnt to run one diesel train, given the rising diesel prices. Even the Humsafar Rake that arrived 20 days ago has not been scheduled for any section.”
He said, “With the Union budget session, the Prime Minister will be busy this entire month. Though he will be in Bengaluru on February 4, we still don't know when and where the inauguration will happen. The state government too has not exerted any pressure on the Railways.”
That the inauguration is waiting for a VIP was confirmed by Mysuru MP Prathap Simha, who told Deccan Chronicle, “The Prime Minister will definitely come to inaugurate the doubling and electrification of this line. The operation of electric rakes is not being held up for the inauguration. That is a mere formal ceremony. The facility has been created and commercial operations have begun. People can use it.”
But when DC asked sources in the Railways, they confirmed that the electric rake had not started running commercially, while continuing its trials with an empty train. Rs 895 crore and 10 years later, rail passengers are still waiting. Of that, the state government has contributed Rs 600 crore.