Can’t run more trains to Bangalore due to safety issues: Kharge

Railway Minister M. Mallikarjuna Kharge said here on Sunday that Mangalore Central railway station will be provided with two escalators and two lifts.

Addressing a gathering at a function organised by the Southern Railway, the Minister said that the facilities would help children, persons with disabilities and senior citizens.

Earlier, he flagged off the inaugural specials of Mangalore Central-Madgaon Intercity Express, Mangalore Central Kacheguda bi-weekly Express, and Mangalore Central-Bhatkal DEMU (diesel electric multiple unit), a passenger train, at a function at the Central railway station.

Hinting that the five-year-old proposal of making Mangalore Central a world class station was alive, Mr. Kharge said that the Southern Railway had submitted an estimate to this effect to the Railway Board. The estimate comprised upgrading the railway stations of Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kozhikode to world standards.

He promised that if there were savings in the Railways, funds would be allocated for the purpose either this month or next month. The Minister did not elaborate on the details of the estimate and did not say whether funds would be allocated to the Mangalore Central station alone or other three stations as well. The then Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee had proposed to make the stations world class in her 2009-10 budget.

Referring to the demands for introducing more passenger trains between Bangalore and Mangalore, the Minister said that the Commission of Railway Safety, under the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation, had instructed that not more than two passenger trains should be operated on the sector due to safety reasons.

Mr. Kharge said that he had written to the commission to give a report listing out the weak safety factors on the sector so that the Railways could address them for enabling operation of more passenger trains. He said that Railways have no power to operate any train without the permission from the Commission of Railway Safety.

Nalin Kumar Kateel, Member of Parliament, Dakshina Kannada, said that he expected the Minister to create Mangalore railway division or carve Mangalore region out of Palakkad Division of the Southern Railway and bring it under the South Western Railway. If it was not possible to make Mangalore railway division, the region could be brought under either Bangalore or Mysore divisions of the South Western Railway with its headquarters in Hubli.

Mr. Kharge said that the Railways was addressing the issues in a phased manner.

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