Cost of doubling tracks through Kottayam and Alappuzha hits Rs. 1,100 crore from Rs. 530 crore in 2005
Inordinate delay in doubling railway track through Kottayam and Alappuzha has doubled the cost from Rs. 530 crore in 2005 to approximately Rs. 1,100 crore now.
In 2013-’14, the railway allotted only Rs. 117 crore for track doubling in Kerala. Though no funds were earmarked in the recent interim Railway Budget for doubling works, it is expected that funds will be allocated in proportion to the previous year’s allocation. Officials are resting their hope on the full-fledged budget expected in June.
Chief Administrative Officer (Construction) of Southern Railway Dani Thomas said already-sanctioned doubling works in Kottayam and Alappuzha can be completed by 2017 if the railway gave Rs 400 crore each in 2014 and 2015 and Rs 300 crore in 2016.Kottayam doubling
Doubling the track in the 114-km-long Ernakulam-Kottayam-Kayankulam sector would cost a total of Rs 600 crore as per current estimate. This would reduce travel time between Ernakulam and Kayankulam by around an hour.
At present, only a total of 36 km has been doubled on Ernakulam-Mulanthuruthy and Chenganur-Kayankulam portions. Another 11 km in the Mulanthuruthy-Piravom stretch will be doubled within a few months.
Mr. Thomas said the 13-km-long Piravom-Kurupunthara and the 27-km-long Chingavanam-Chengannur stretches can be doubled by 2015 if the railway allocates sufficient funds. “The 27-km-long Chingavanam-Kurupunthara stretch can be completed by 2016 if there is steady flow of funds.”
In Kottayam, State government has handed over to Railway just 10 hectares of the 40 hectares of land needed for doubling track, while the promised 10 hectares was handed over in Pathanamtitta.
On how double track will be a boon to Kerala, Mr Thomas said it will pave the way for introduction of more short- and long-distance trains in Kerala, since the existing single-track portions are saturated.
Moreover, double track is a pre requisite for introducing block signalling that can considerably speed up trains. Doubling will also enable extension of the proposed Thiruvananthapuram- Chengannur suburban rail corridor up to Ernakulam. The Ernakulam-Shornur sector already has double track.