CII-Mangaluru seeks rail line on proposed Shiradi tunnel

Our Bureau Mangaluru | Updated on January 07, 2021

Mangaluru Junction (file photo)

The move would be a win-win for commuters and for goods movement

The Mangaluru chapter of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has suggested to the Government that it take up a feasibility study on aligning the broad-gauge train tracks on the proposed 23.6-km-long tunnel project on the Shiradi Ghat stretch of Bengaluru-Mangaluru highway.

In a letter to the Union Road Transport and Highways Minister, Nitin Gadkari, the CII Mangaluru chapter Chairman, K Prakash Rao, said that the minister’s recent announcement on plans to build a 23.6-km-long, six-lane tunnel on Shiradi Ghat was a long-pending demand of the people of Dakshina Kannada.

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Feasibility study

Requesting a feasibility study to consider aligning the broad-gauge train tracks in the proposed tunnel project, he said it would improve the speed substantially as it would reduce the steep gradient the trains have to take now from Mangaluru to Hassan on their forward journey to Bengaluru.

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Rao said the proposed tunnel project is fully justified as it would improve the port connectivity substantially and will exporters and importers for easy movement of goods to and from New Mangalore Port. This would reduce time and cost, making exports through New Mangalore Port highly viable.

He said most exports from the hinterland of New Mangalore Port now happen through other ports, adding substantial cost to exporters. New Mangalore Port is one of the best all-weather ports in the southern region and is not a congested port. However, the prohibitive costs of cargo transportation from the hinterland have made it difficult for exporters to use the port.

Reducing time and cost

He said the proposed project would also address the problems faced by commuters travelling between Bengaluru and Mangaluru. The road blocks on the Ghat section during monsoon months result in nearly six hours’ delay in reaching the destination, causing much hardship to passengers travelling by bus.

Though the distance between Mangaluru and Bengaluru is only 350 km by road, it now takes over 14 hours if a person wants to travel by train. The trains require double engines to negotiate the steep gradient of the Shiradi Ghat section.

Rao said aligning the tracks with the proposed tunnel would reduce the time by over three hours for train journey and reduce the cost too. It would be a win-win situation for the commuters and goods movement too, he added.

Published on January 07, 2021

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