Plea to implement sanctioned projects

Political parties and the public should come forward to protest against the neglect of the State, especially the capital, by Railways with respect to implementation of projects and commencement of services, A. Sampath and T.N. Seema, MPs, have said.

Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, Mr. Sampath and Ms. Seema said Railways had failed to implement projects sanctioned for the State in the last Railway budget. The next rail budget will be presented on March 14. “The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had been neglecting the needs of the State and the capital district,” they said.

Railway authorities had not bothered to convene a meeting of MPs from the State to discuss prior to the budget. The proposal to raise the Thiruvananthapuram Central railway station to international standards and the Railway Medical College project, sanctioned two years ago, was on still on paper, Mr. Sampath said.

There were moves to shift the bottling plant sanctioned for Nemom and Kadakkavur to adjoining Tamil Nadu.

The coaching yard proposed for Nemom and Kottayam in the last Railway budget and the development of the Kochuveli terminal was not progressing for lack of funds, he said.

Four long-distance trains sanctioned in the last budget and the Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) were yet to commence operations. The coaches being used in the State were in a very bad shape, he said.

Stating an instance, he said commuters had to wait for over 45 minutes on Saturday to get tickets due to staff shortage. The usual temple-time festival for trains at Chirayinkil for 28 years was withdrawn arbitrarily.

The canteens had become dirty and the light refreshment stalls should be handed over to Kudumbasree. The Electronic Passenger Reservation System at Attingal and Nedumangad had not been implemented.

The proposal to earmark separate counters for the physically challenged, senior citizens, cancer patients, and women had not been implemented.

The authorities should join hands with banks to set up a consortium to mobilise funds for infrastructure projects.

“Some of the senior Railway official behave in an arrogant manner and do not listen to elected representatives. Indian Railways belong to the people and the behaviour of these officers cannot be tolerated,” Mr. Sampath said.

Safety aspect

Ms. Seema said Railways were not taking steps to ensure the safety of the women commuters. The number of Railway Protection Force personnel was inadequate and the authorities had not yet decided on shifting the women's compartment to the centre of the train, she said.