Bengaluru: Indian Railways will set up three joint ventures with the Karnataka government to build infrastructure projects in the state, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Sunday.
“We will form a JV with the state government and operationalise it in the next three months for infrastructure projects like doubling tracks, extending present rail lines and surveys for new lines across the state,” Prabhu said at a railway function here.
The other two JVs will be to operate a suburban train service across Bengaluru and develop one of its stations into a model station under the public-private participation mode.
“Infrastructure development will transform Karnataka into an engine of growth. The equity for the first JV will be from our resources and the state government, which would not come under its Fiscal Responsibility Act,” Prabhu said after laying stone for three doubling projects in the state.
Noting that railways was a strategic national asset, the minister said the government could afford to allow it to languish and cited Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s keen interest to transform it. 
“The Railways and the state government will work as partners. We have invested more in Karnataka during the last two years, allocating Rs.2,567 crore in this fiscal budget as against Rs.1,839 crore in 2015-16, Rs.1,305 crore in 2014-15 and Rs.1,124 crore in 2013-14,” he said.
The doubling projects are between Yelahanka in north Bengaluru and Penukonda in the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh (120km), Arsikere-Tumakuru (96km) and Hubbali-Chikjajur (190 km) at a combined cost of Rs.2,578 crore.
The two projects in the state will enable South Western Railway to run semi-high speed inter-city trains between Bengaluru and Hubbali, covering about 460km in four-five hours as against six-seven hours presently.
All the three projects are expected to be completed by 2019-20.
Prabhu also commissioned a road over bridge at Davangere and laid the foundation stone for another one at Koppal.
Besides Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, union ministers from the state M. Venkaiah Naidu, Anantha Kumar and G.M. Siddshwara and former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda were present on the occasion. 

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