Total of 18 demands placed by P. Kumar; ‘not satisfied with GM’s response’

: Unsatisfied with the replies given to his host of demands, AIADMK Tiruchi MP P. Kumar walked out of a high-level railway meeting convened here on Friday in which issues pertaining to improving passenger amenities at railway stations, operation of new trains, extension of some trains and increasing their frequency were raised by the participating Members of Parliament.

The nearly three-hour long meeting held at Zonal Railway Training School premises was attended by seven MPs, South Western Railway General Manager, holding additional charge as Southern Railway General Manager, Ashok Kumar Mittal, Additional General Manager Dr. G. Narayanan and top railway officers from Southern Railway headquarters, Tiruchi and Madurai railway divisions.

Minutes after the in-camera meeting commenced, the oral replies given by the General Manager to the charter of demands placed by MP Kumar did not satisfy the latter.

Mr. Kumar placed a total number of 18 demands at the meeting that included restoration of the Rockfort Express to Tiruchi, extension of the Tiruchi- Tirunelveli Inter City Day Express up to Kanyakumari with a stoppage at Manapparai, introduction of Tiruchi – Bangalore – Tiruchi, Tiruchi – Tirupathi, and Pudukottai – Tiruchi – Chennai day time expresses, stoppage of all trains at Srirangam station, introduction of Tiruchi – Chennai – Tiruchi Duronto express and a coach factory at Golden Rock in Tiruchi.

For majority of the demands put forth by Mr. Kumar, the reply given to him was that the matter had to be decided by the Railway Board or “not feasible”. “I walked out the meeting as the replies were not satisfactory,” Mr. Kumar later told The Hindu on the phone.

AIADMK Mayiladuthurai MP O.S. Manian sought improvement of basic amenities at several railway stations including proper passenger seating facility and extension of platform shelters at many stations for the benefit of travellers.

Mr. Manian said he had raised the reintroduction of the Sengottah – Chennai and Thanjavur – Chennai passengers which were stopped due to conversion of the mainline section to broad gauge. Stoppage of Chendur Express at Papanasam railway station was his other demand.

DMK Rajya Sabha MP Tiruchi N. Siva also sought the stoppage of Tiruchi – Tirunelveli Inter City Express at Manapparai. Though it was said that being a superfast train it could not have many stoppages, Mr. Siva pointed out the stations the train halted at present and their distance.

Elaborating further, he said when the train could halt at stations beyond Madurai all within a distance of around 30 to 40 kilometre, it was not logical to state that the express cannot have a stoppage at Manapparai that falls between Tiruchi and Dindigul (around 100 km).

Introduction of Tiruchi – Bangalore day time express via Vriddhachalam and Salem, Tiruchi – Coimbatore day time express and Puducherry – Kanyakumari express via mainline and touching Tiruchi, provision of an escalator facility at Tiruchi Junction for the benefit of the aged, women and children and widening of the road over bridge near Tiruchi Junction were among his other demands. He also wanted a proper monitoring mechanism for the railway catering.

The other MPs who spoke were K.S. Azhagiri of the Congress, DMK MPs M. Thangavelu, A.K.S. Vijayan and D. Venugopal.