The change at the Centre has not helped Tamil Nadu anyway in improving rail infrastructure

Just four trains from Chennai. The list can’t be any smaller for Tamil Nadu, one of the most industrially progressive States, in the Railway budget.

Going by the token allocation of funds for pending projects, the Centre has put the State on the waitlist.

Railway Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda announced 58 new trains. Of them, only four connect the State. One will be a bi-weekly express connecting Chennai and Ahmedabad, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home turf. The Shalimar-Chennai Premium Express; the Vishakapatnam-Chennai Weekly Express; and the Yesvantpur-Hosur Express (six days a week) are the others.

Passengers are disheartened by the fact that there are no new trains to meet the ever growing demand between Chennai and Madurai and Chennai and Coimbatore. There is not even an increase in the frequency of the bi-weekly, weekly and tri-weekly trains. And, not even a single train has been extended to any of the cities.

Moreover, no new line, or doubling or gauge conversion has been sanctioned. As the Congress-led UPA government did, the BJP-led government has allocated meagre sums, ranging from Rs. 1 lakh to a few crore, just to keep the pending projects alive. With this token allocation, Southern Railway will not be able to complete ongoing projects, say railway officials here. A glance at the projects announced in the past shows the State needs over Rs. 5,000 crore to complete the pending works alone.