Broad Gauge section between Manamadurai and Virudhunagar commissioned

Flight service to Singapore and Dubai will be introduced from Madurai in six months, said Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation K.C. Venugopal here on Sunday.

Commissioning the newly converted broad gauge section between Manamadurai and Virudhunagar here, he said that the Madurai airport runway had to be extended to at least 12,000 feet for operation of international flights. (As of now the Madurai airport runway has a length of about 7,500 feet only).

Though sufficient land had been acquired by the State Government, some more had to be acquired and handed over to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) following a need to realign the highway that runs nearby.

“The Centre was ready to extend all possible financial help. But right now there is shortage of manpower, including pilots. Efforts are under way to recruit the required manpower and the exercise will be over early next year,” the Union Minister said.

Stating that that the broad gauge conversion work involving reconstruction of five major bridges, 145 minor bridges, five stations, including three crossing stations and 31 level crossings, was completed at a cost of Rs. 230 crore, Mr.Venugopal pointed out that the United Progressive Alliance Government I and II had contributed a lot for infrastructure development in various parts of the country.

B. Manickam Tagore, MP, said Aruppukottai should be made a junction and more amenities provided. Besides, railway authorities should ensure that more trains stop at Aruppukottai.

First train

Railway sources that Puducherry-Kanyakumari Special (train number 06861), to be flagged off by Union Minister of State for Railways K. Surya Prakash Reddy at Puducherry at 5.00 p.m. on Monday, would be the first train to cross this new section. It will reach Kanyakumari on Tuesday at 8.40 a.m.

Regular (weekly) service of this train from Puducherry will begin on Thursday and from Kanyakumari on Friday.