Besides, the issues pertaining to poor upkeep of coaches, the alleged neglect towards the State, and improving passenger amenities at railway stations will be discussed
Introduction of new trains, extension of trains, increasing their frequency, and delay in commencing the coach factory at Kanjikode and wagon component unit at Cherthala are to come up at a high-level meeting convened by Southern Railway for MPs from the State here on January 28.
Besides, the issues pertaining to poor upkeep of coaches, the alleged neglect towards the State, and improving passenger amenities at railway stations will figure at the meeting convened by General Manager of Southern Railway Rakesh Misra.
All MPs from the State have been called for the meeting to be hel at the Government Guest House at Thycaud and to be chaired by Mr. Misra, official sources told The Hindu. The meeting to be attended by Chief Administrative Officers (Construction) Vijayakumar and Dany Thomas, Divisional Managers Rajesh Agrawal (Thiruvananthapuram) and Piyush Agarwal (Palakkad) will review the railway projects and progress of the works.
Though the State had got a coach factory at Kanjikode in Palakkad and a wagon component unit at Cherthala in Alappuzha, it has not taken off the ground so far. The fate of new railway lines and surveys sanctioned for the State over the last few years is the same.
The meeting that was scheduled for December 21 and January 18 were postponed without assigning any reason. The General Manager will call on Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Minister for Transport and Power Aryadan Mohammed, and Chief Secretary K. Jose Cyriac to discuss various issues pertaining to the Railways.
Railway passenger associations have expressed doubts about the outcome of the exercise on Monday. Similar meetings with MPs in neighbouring States and at the zonal level in Chennai held long ago had already prioritised the demands. Moreover, the all India railway timetable committee had also met for three-days in Goa from January 8.
“The reason for delaying the meeting of MPs from Kerala is unknown. Though having a good presence of Ministers in the Union Cabinet, the State seems to be wasting a golden opportunity by not doing the ground work,” said general secretary of the Western India Passengers’ Association Thomas Simon.
Mr. Simon said all depended now on how Mr. Misra conveyed the outcome of the meeting and the demands of the State to the railway authorities and how Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Banswal responded to it. The demand for the exclusive zone, budget allocation, and new trains to Kerala in the budget depended on how the State prioritised the demands and put forward it to the Railways. “Instead of listing demands constituency and district-wise, the MPs should take up the cause of the State,” sources said. The inability to project the demands and prioritise the projects is costing the State dearly. The worst-hit are the commuters, especially those residing in metros and major cities. The demand for a new train from Mumbai to Kochuveli via Kottayam and an overnight express train to Banglaore is yet to materialise.