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Cost would double if Bengaluru suburban train network not rolled out: Congress MP
A Rs 18,600 crore suburban train network for Bengaluru has found mention in the past three consecutive Union Budgets but the project has not moved forward, prompting Congress MP from Karnataka G C Chandrashekhar on Monday to warn the government that the cost would double if it is not rolled out immediately.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour in Rajya Sabha, Chandrashekhar said the project has been announced for the third time in the 2020-21 Budget but no allocation has been made so far. In 2018-19 and 2019-20 Budgets too, he said the project was announced but a meagre Rs one crore and Rs 10 crore were allocated respectively.
Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi has said last month that Rs1,400 crore is required immediately to kickstart the project and a Detailed Project Report was prepared with Rs 12,000 crore estimate in 2013, which has now risen to Rs 18,600 crore.
"Even now, if we don't start the work seriously, it will double the cost by the time we implement it," Chandashekhar said adding Bengaluru has become the world's worst traffic congested city due to increase in number of vehicles and population. "It is very essential for Bengaluru to implement a suburban train project. Just announcement will not solve the problem. The government should release the fund as early as possible," he said.
Quoting Transport Department statistics, he said 82,53,218 vehicles are there in Bengaluru and drivers spend an average 71% extra time on roads due to congestion during 2019. "Solution to Bengaluru traffic is only by improving public transport system such as suburban rail, metro and BMTC to provide last-mile connectivity to the people," he said.
In a separate intervention, Congress MP M V Rajeev Gowda raised the issue of hunger and chronic malnutrition among children and adolescents, while referring to India slipping seven places to 102 (out of 117 countries) in the Global Hunger Index.
"Three years ago, the government launched the Poshan Abhiyan. This was supposed to address these challenges. But as of 31 December, 2019, only 37% of these funds have actually been utilised or released. We have a policy. We have the funds. But why are things getting worse? What are the possible reasons?" he said.
Gowda said there is a need for better information dissemination at the village level itself so that people understand the issue. He also urged the NCERT. to include in its curriculum the methods to improve knowledge about nutrition. The Information and Broadcasting Ministry also should see how to curb advertisements that promote junk food, he added.
JD(S) MP D Kupendra Reddy highlighted the issue of around 18 lakh pending cases in Karnataka courts. "Thousands of fresh cases are filed every month. There are vacant posts of judges...Individual burden of work is much higher for High Court judges. Karnataka has the highest number of pending cases," he said demanding the government to fill up vacant posts in Karnataka Courts.