Major works are nearing completion in the Salem-Namakkal section of the new Salem-Karur broad gauge line works. The Southern Railway is hoping to procure expensive track materials after receiving funds in the aftermath of the Railway Budge for the next fiscal so that the section could see completion of work at least by December this year, according to the Southern Railway General Manager Deepak Krishan.

Interacting with the media after an inspection tour here on Tuesday, Mr. Krishan said that the Southern Railway was optimistic that the project would receive sufficient funds to ensure that enough material was procured and the Salem-Namakkal section would be commissioned by December. The work on the Namakkal-Karur section would be over by May 2011.

"We are capable of meeting the requirements of the public and travellers of the region and would try to expedite the project,’’ he replied to a query on the continued delay plaguing the project.

Maintaining that safety was the priority for the Railways, Mr. Krishan said that electrification of the Villupuram-Tiruchi section was complete and few services were being operated using electric locomotives. All the safety aspects should be taken into consideration, he said.

With regard to the demand for extending the number of coaches in the Coimbatore-Myladuthurai Jan Shatabdi Express, the General Manager said that based on the demand coaches would be increased.

Stating that there was no dearth of demands for new train services and increased number of coaches in Tamil Nadu, Mr. Krishan said that the Southern Railway was considering the demands of the people of various regions and was addressing them on priority basis. But shortage of bogies needed to be taken into account, he added.

On the Lalapet level crossing gate reopening issue that has been hanging fire for several months now, Mr. Krishan said that some proposals were under consideration of the officials and added that they would find a solution soon.

Southern Railway Chief Administrative Officer, Constructions, R. Ramanathan, Chief Mechanical Engineer, V. Carmelus, Chief Commercial Manager, K.V. Narayana Das, Chief Electrical Engineer, I. Srirama, Financial Advisor and Chief Accounts Officer Vijaya Kanth, Chief Security Commissioner G.M.P. Reddy, Chief Signal and Telecom Engineer S. Manohar, Divisional Railway Manager, Salem, P.N. Ram, and other senior officials accompanied the General Manager during the inspection tour.

Mr. Krishan inspected Muttarasanallur, Kulithalai, Karur, Pugalur and Kodumudi railway stations and also conducted mid section inspection between Kulithalai and Lalapet stations.

Public representatives and train users presented memoranda to the General Manager during his visit and sought redressal of the grievances. He assured the petitioners that necessary follow up action would be taken on their petitions.