Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi has urged Minister for Railways Mamata Banerjee to allocate adequate funds for railway projects in the State.

In his letter, Mr. Karunanidhi referred to the position of the railway projects coming to a standstill. The Ministry had allocated Rs. 240 crore for the gauge conversion projects. An additional Rs. 280 crore would be required to complete the projects on time. The projects covering the stretches of Mayiladuthurai-Tiruvarur-Karaikudi-Tiruthuraipoondi and Nagapattinam-Thiruthuraipoondi via Tirukuvalai could not be completed on account of inadequate allocation of funds.

An allocation of Rs. 112 crore was made for line doubling projects in the State. In the case of the Chengalpattu-Villupuram project, Rs. 77 crore more was required even for the year.

Pointing out that the same was the story in respect of projects for new lines, the Chief Minister said a sum of Rs. 36 crore was set apart this year for the Salem-Karur project (85 km), of which Rs. 34 crore had been spent. A total of Rs. 140 crore was required for the current year. So, for any further progress, Rs. 104 crore was needed. There was delay in the execution of the projects covering the stretches of Tindivanam-Tiruvannamalai, Tindivanam-Nagari, Athipattu-Puthur, Erode-Palani and Chennai-Cuddalore through Mamallapuram, he said.

Clarification

Reacting to a news item, “Railway projects on hold,” published in this newspaper on Wednesday, a communication from the Southern Railway stated that even though there was “constraint of funds” in the current year for various projects, mostly under the Gauge Conversion Plan Head, “no project has been slowed down.” All the projects were progressing “satisfactorily” as the Southern Railway was hopeful of getting additional funds from the Railway Board. As regards the problem concerning quarrying of earth work for the Chengalpattu-Villupuram doubling project, the issue was being discussed regularly with the State government and earth quarry permits were expected to be received shortly.