The Bangalore- Mangalore railway was put into service in 2007, but the present lines take the passengers 200 kms too far. The train goes via Krishnarajanagar, Mysore and Mandya, which takes 14-15 hours to complete the journey. Sources in the government claim that once the Bangalore–Hassan line is completed, the journey to Mangalore will reduce the distance to 355kms, which can be covered in eight hours.
In conversation with dna, PV Mohan, convener, Mangalore Railway, said: “We need a fast train on this route. It is understandable that the treacherous ghat section can be a hindrance, but the lines between the two cities (Arasikere and Mysore) are fit for 100 kmph, except the 45 km of the Shirady Ghat sector.” Despite the hurdles of the ghat sector, the train to Bangalore can complete its journey in less than right hours, Mohan added.
But the Mangalore–Bangalore line has another approach, ie via Hassan–Shrvanabelagola. This approach is hindered by powerful industrial lobbies, who have blocked the land acquisition in the Tumkur–Kunigal stretch. As a result of this, the Shrvanabelagola station was has been lying open since 2007, and is now a home for vagabonds and social elements.
“The Shravanabelagola–Bangalore link would boost trade via the Mangalore port, but commercial interest right now lacks a Karnataka-based port connectivity, though the port in Mangalore is just eight hours away from Bangalore. Due to the travel time taken on the existing route (Bangalore–Arasikere–KR Nagar–Mysore–Mangalore), not a single container from the Internal Container Depot (ICD) at Whitefield in Bangalore came to Mangalore which was such a shame and loss” Mohammad Ameen, president of the Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told dna.
The KCCI had made several appeals to the Container Corporation of India, but it was just unviable to make the container travel 512 kms, taking 16 hours to reach the Mangalore port. Many container operators from Bangalore take their business to Chennai and Tuticorin. The FKCCI sources say they would rather not estimate the losses in terms of revenue to Mangalore port, for it could be shocking.
The bus effect
There are about 450 busloads of people travelling from Udupi, Mangalore and Kasargod to Bangalore every day, and 50% of them are turned down by the railways for want of berths and seats everyday. This means, not less than 900 to 1,000 people do not get to travel by train due to the railway rush, and they travel by bus or by private vehicles, instead.
“We cannot plan our travel a week or fortnight before. The maximum notice we get from our associates in Bangalore is three days. It is not possible for the railways to give us a seat or a berth in that short notice,” said Ahmed Bawa, a trader and a functionary of the KCCI.
Line of good fortune
The Union railway ministry has also given a nod to the Hassan–Bangalore railway line via Shravanabelagola, it would take the line bifurcating the Kunigal stud farm in Tumkur district. The railways wanted to take the line away from the stud farm, as the farm belonged to a powerful and rich horserace lobby. But farmers in Tumkur and Mandya districts bombed the idea and were firm about not letting the line take away their three crop well irrigated fields.
The railway authorities say that if the line opens up, even The Golden Chariot can chug on this line, and go to Goa through the picturesque coastal line.
The line would help the movement of people at cost as low as Rs180-220 for reserved class.
l The movement of fish to Bangalore’s market will get a boost.