Union Minister of State for Railways E. Ahmed on Thursday said the railways will be able to commence development projects sanctioned for Kerala only if the State acquires and hands over land.

Speaking before flagging off the new tri-weekly day express between Kochuveli and Mangalore Central from Thiruvananthpuram Central Station, the Union Minister expressed hope that the State government would hand over the land as promised within three months for the proposed coach factory at Palakkad.

Mr. Ahmed said the people should cooperate with the State government and handover land for the development projects. “The coach factory is the need of the hour as we face shortage of coaches. The demand for coaches is on the increase as several new trains had been sanctioned and the old ones had to be replaced’, he added.

The setting up of the coach factory at Palakkad will be of immense help to the railways to tide over the shortage of coaches. At present, the railways has only two coach factories in the country.

The Union Minister said a sum of Rs. 113 crore had been allocated for the development works in the railway network in the State following his tour in the state recently. This is in addition to the Rs. 90 crore work taken up and the development of Kochuveli, Nemom and Thiruvananthapuram Central on world class standards.

The tri-weekly to Mangalore will be made a daily train as announced in the budget, once the railway overcomes the coach shortage and creates the necessary infrastructure facilities.

Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs M. Vijayakumar, in-charge of railways, presided over the function.

M.P. Achuthan, MP; legsislators V. Surendran Pillai, V. Sivankutty, Mayor C. Jayan Babu, KPCC President Ramesh Chennithala, General Manager of Southern Railway M.S. Jayanth; Divisional Railway Manager Rajiv Dutt Sharma spoke.

The regular service of the train will commence from Mangalore on September 13 and from Kochuveli on September 14. The 6606 Kochuveli-Mangalore Express will leave from Kochuveli at 3.45 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and will reach Mangalore at 5.30 p.m. In the return direction, the 6605 Mangalore-Kochuveli Express will leave from Mangalore at 7.15 a.m. on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday and will reach Kochuveli at 9.30 p.m.

The inaugural special left Thiruvananthapuram central at 10.30 a.m. and will reach Mangalore at 11.55 p.m. Mr. Ahmed travelled in the saloon attached to the rake of the train.