Rakesh Misra reiterates that revival is not feasible

The Southern Railway has put its foot down on the issue of reviving the Ernakulam Goods (ERG) station. The railway’s General Manager, Rakesh Misra, on Monday reiterated his stand that the project was not feasible.

Mr. Misra stuck to his stance taken a week ago that there had to be a pair of tracks in place of the single track that exists now. “Moreover, setting up a shunting neck here would be tough because of paucity of space.”

The Railway has 39 acres of land on the premises of the goods station. It has been lying idle ever since all operations were shifted to Ernakulam Junction and Ernakulam Town railway stations two decades ago.

When he was told that at least a dozen trains plied daily through single-track portions on the Ernakulam-Kayankulam stretch, through Alappuzha and Kottayam, Mr. Misra said ERG station needed two tracks and a shunting neck as it is proposed to be a terminal station. When Mr. Misra spoke his mind on the issue a week ago, a host of senior Railway officials clarified that the station did not need two tracks and had ample space to build a shunting neck.

When Mr. Misra was apprised of allegations that Southern Railway was playing into the hands of the real-estate mafia, who have eyed the prime plot in the heart of Kochi, he laughed and said people could make their own conclusions. “I have nothing to do with the mafia,” he said.

On reservations about the feasibility of developing Ernakulam Junction station on a Private-Public-Partnership model, Mr. Misra said: “Finding a private partner is a basic issue. This has delayed commencement of Palakkad coach factory too”.

On the compensation that KMRL ought to pay the Railways for constructing Kochi Metro’si via duct through Ernakulam Junction station premises, Mr Misra said the Centre would take a call on the matter. “The compensation amount can be sorted out later since it is between government agencies. This will not hamper the metro’s work.”

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