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Bangalore: Piyush Goyal’s Pre-poll Promise of Free Land For Suburban Rail Project Now Revoked By Modi Govt

The Centre has also asked the Karnataka government to rework the project which will cause further delay.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has reportedly revoked Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal’s decision to offer railway land, virtually free of cost, for the suburban rail project. The Union government has asked the Karnataka government to rework the project which will cause further delay.

As per Chiranjeevi Kulkarni’s report in Deccan Herald, the Railway Board has written a letter on April 10 to the state’s implementing agency — Rail Infrastructure Development Company (Karnataka) Limited (K-RIDE) — underlining the PMO’s direction that the land for the rail project will not be free. As per an estimate, 717 acres of railway land worth Rs 6,700 crore is required for the project.

The Union government has also created further roadblocks for the project by stating that the project has to be reworked, for instance, the number of stations in the core city area have to be reduced and no overlap should take place with the already existing Metro lines in the city, as per a report published in The Hindu. The Centre has also the state agency to explore the PPP model for surplus land parcels, viability gap fund (VGF) and adapting revenue share models which experts feel is “not a feasible option”.

Also Read: RTI Reveals Modi Govt Spent Over Rs 52 Lakhs on Vande Bharat Express Inauguration

Speaking to The Hindu, Suburban rail activist Sanjeev Dyamannavar, slammed the government for delaying the project. He said, “Both the State government and the Union Ministry of Railway held several rounds of deliberation on the existing DPR. The meeting involved the railway minister, the chief minister and top officials. They came out with a statement that all the issues have been resolved and the project will be taken up. It is very disappointing that now the PMO and Finance Ministry are coming up with new riders.”

In February, Goyal reportedly met Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and announced the Railway Ministry’s decision to lease the railway land at Re 1 per acre.

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