The works on the second railway line between Mangalore Central Railway Station and Shoranur Junction (Kerala), which has been going on for quite some time now, is on the verge of completion, according to Minister of State for Railways E. Ahammed.

Mr. Ahammed told presspersons here on Monday that of the 309-km-long parallel line, only a 10-km stretch was still to be completed. This would be completed in about six months. “However, some unforeseen technical problems or poor weather may cause some delay,” he added.

Mr. Ahammed was here to inaugurate a multi-cuisine food plaza at the City Railway Station, conceptualised by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd. and set up at a cost of Rs. 40 lakh.

Some people urged the Minister to drop the proposal to extend the Mangalore-Bangalore train to Kannur (Kerala), as they apprehended that it would deprive travellers from Karnataka of their share of berths. However, Mr. Ahammed said, there were misconceptions about the train’s extension.

“There is no quota of berths to any State or station as is being wrongly interpreted. Train tickets can be booked by anybody from any station to any destination throughout the country,” he said.

On their demand for a separate railway division with Mangalore as its headquarters, the Minister said, “Why don’t you ask my colleague from your own State (Minister of State for Railways K.H. Muniyappa) to take up this issue with the Centre. I suppose he should show more interest in this regard.” The Minister appeared to have been upset with the activists for not producing relevant documents to justify their demands such as construction of railway underpasses at some places. “You should come prepared. This is no way to approach a Minister,” he said. If the region really needed railway underpasses, then the local civil authorities such as the Mayor should approach him, he said.

When it was pointed out that some councillors of wards were present, he said, “I am not authorised to take such applications. I want to speak to people, who have the formal authority to make such demands. I will only speak to the Mayor.”

On the 11-point memorandum submitted to the Railway Minister by Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily, he said he would discuss the matter with Mr. Moily, separately. Mr. Moily has demanded, among others, for five new trains to the State.

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