New dormitories, waiting rooms and display boards on the anvil
Coimbatore Railway Junction will see a “sea change” in six months, promised Sujatha Jayaraj, Divisional Railway Manager, Salem Railway Division, at the ‘Vision for Coimbatore Railways' function organised in the city on Friday by the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Coimbatore.
“I am told the subways are user unfriendly and that passengers find it difficult to reach the platforms. The Division has initiated efforts to install two escalators and as many elevators. The Division has finalised the contractors for the four and the work will soon begin.”
The Division was also in the process of shifting the offices on platforms so as to create space for waiting rooms and dormitories.
It was even ready to provide an air-conditioned dormitory.
Next on the agenda was refurbishing the food plaza and replacing the coach guidance and departure and arrival boards. The Division would replace those shortly, she said.
Responding to a question on insufficient ticket counters and long queues during rush hours, Ms. Jayaraj said that the ticket counters the Division operated on the Good Shed Road entrance received poor patronage forcing the officials to redeploy the staff. However, during rush hours and holidays, the Division would deploy officials to those counters.
The Division had also initiated efforts to install automatic ticket vending machines, which were at present available only in Chennai.
Regarding routing 13 trains through the Coimbatore Junction that were running on the Podanur – Irugur – Podanur section, she said that the Division has taken up the issue with the Railway Board.
Of the 13 pairs of trains, routing of six or seven trains was on the anvil. The Division had also sent to the Board the demand for stoppage of six or seven trains at the Coimbatore North Junction. Some positive news could be expected on this front.
The foot-over-bridge at Irugur had seen some progress in that the Division would soon float tender as it had obtained the Railway Board's permission.
Ms. Jayaraj sought public help in locating land for a parking lot as the Junction at present did not have sufficient space to accommodate vehicles.
When a participant suggested shifting the cycle stand, she promised to look into it.
Regarding re-opening three stations on the Coimbatore – Mettupalayam line, she said it was for the Railway Board to take a call on it. And while considering the issue the Board would weigh the financial implications of investing in the stations' uplift.
The container terminal at Irugur remained so underutilised that the Comptroller and Auditor General had commented on it in the CAG's report, saying the return on investment was below par.
Asking the people present there and various industries' associations to represent grievances, if any, she said the Division was committed to doing its best to provide more facilities to improve freight movement. “Whatever is within the Division's powers, it will do it immediately and what is not, it will refer to the senior officials.”
Since its formation four years ago, the Salem Railway Division has been doing well. It had increased its earnings by 15 per cent, which was five per cent more than the target compared to last year's figures.
The Division had a few constraints but was still doing well she said. For every Rs. 100 the Division earned, it spent Rs. 158, she added.
P.R. Natarajan, Member of Parliament, Coimbatore, demanded conduct of grievance meeting.
It had been two-and-a-half years since the Division conducted a meeting.
G.K. Nagaraj, Convenor, The Coimbatore Railway Struggle Committee, sought improvement of Peelamedu and Irugur stations and introduction of a train on the lines of Kairali Queen to cater to the city's industries' needs.
M. Krishnan, president, Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Coimbatore, welcomed the gathering and presented a list of demands to Ms. Jayaraj. He wanted the officials to repair the stretch of the track that was within the Avanashi underpass so as to prevent leak of dirty water from the trains. K. Sukumar, Member of Parliament, Pollachi, was also present in the meeting.