Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday dedicated the 110 km railway track from Bidar to Kalaburgi in Karnataka, which will reduce distance from Bengaluru to New Delhi and upcountry destinations by 380km and save 6-8 hours of travelling time.
"Though the new rail line was initiated by (then) Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, its work was stalled for so many years due to lack of efforts during the UPA government's two terms (2004-2014)," said Modi.
Appreciating the role of BJP's state unit President B.S. Yeddurappa in ensuring the completion of the project, he said 60-65 per cent of the work on the track was completed when his BJP was in power in Karnataka (2008-13).
The new track was laid over 16 years at an escalated cost of Rs 1,542 crore from the original estimates of Rs 370 crore.
The Prime Minister also flagged off the first train on the new line from Bidar station to Kalaburgi in the presence of Railway Minister Piyush Goel, Governor Vajubhai R Vala, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Union Ministers from the state Ananth Kumar and Sadananda Gowda.
The diesel-electric multiple train (DEMU) local service will cover the 110km between Bidar and Kalaburgi in two hours with brief halts at 12 stations en route.
Though the foundation stone for the project was laid in 1996 when Janata Dal-Secular supremo H.D. Deve Gowda from the state was the Prime Minister of a coalition government, construction began only in 2000 under the BJP-led NDA government and the railways took 16 years to complete it.
"The new track provides direct rail connectivity from Bengaluru to Bidar (690 km from the state capital), and enable running more long-distance passenger and freight trains on the route," a senior railway official told IANS.
Modi meanwhile said that many development projects stalled since the Congress rule are being completed now. "Congress only believed in 'atkana' (blocking), latkana' (hanging) and 'bhatkana (wandering)'," he said at a public meeting later.
In a series of tweets on his public address at the Nehru stadium in this town, the Prime Minister said the BJP-led NDA government had taken up electrification of thousands of villages on mission mode.
"Villages that did not have power for seven decades, have access to power now," he tweeted.
Modi said the welfare schemes must benefit the common citizens.
"Policy paralysis of the Congress was responsible for benefits of the government initiatives not reaching the people. The Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme has benefited the people as it eliminated middle men," he said in his 40-minute long extempore speech in Hindi.
"All these attacks on me (from Congress) are not because I have done something wrong, but because the looting of the people has been put to an end," he said.