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Updated: September 13, 2013 10:26 IST

Southern Railway neglecting mainline: Manishankar Iyer

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Congress leader Manishankar Iyer. File Photo
The Hindu
Congress leader Manishankar Iyer. File Photo

Major projects coming under the Southern Railway can be completed soon only if the State Governments share the costs of the projects, according to Southern Railway General Manager (GM) Rakesh Misra.

Mr.Misra made a statement to this effect at a meeting organised with Members of Parliament here on Thursday to discuss the on-going railway projects ahead of the next railway budget, Virudhunagar MP (Congress) B. Manicka Tagore, who participated in the meeting, told The Hindu.

According to the MP, the General Manager attributed the slow progress of the project works to the decreased fund allocation.

The MPs demanded several projects like laying of a new line in Madurai-Aruppukottai-Tuticorin section, a new line linking Dindigul and Sabarimala, doubling of Villupuram-Nagercoil line and completion of Shengottah-Punalur and Madurai-Bodi gauge conversion projects.

Railway officials said some States like Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka were making 50 per cent contribution for railway projects which were considered commercially unviable.

While new line projects worth Rs.5,000 crore had been sanctioned in the Southern Railway, the budgetary allocation made for 2012-13 was only around Rs.100 crore.

While around 30 MPs representing constituencies coming under the Madurai and Tiruchi railway divisions were invited for the meeting, only seven turned up.

Speaking at the meeting, Manishankar Iyer said the Southern Railway had neglected the Mainline (connecting Chennai with the Delta region) after taking up the gauge conversion work in 1988.

“Several trains that were running between Chennai and the Delta region have not been re-introduced after gauge conversion,” he said. He wanted the railway to resume the five passenger trains that were running on the Mainline.

He suggested a rail link between Mayiladurai and Tharangampadi for which, he said, the railway did not have to acquire any land afresh.

He also wanted a train connecting the popular pilgrimage destinations of Velankanni, Nagoor and Tirunallar.

He sought stoppage of mail and express trains at Tirusulam railway station for the benefit of air passengers going to the airport in Chennai.

Theni MP J.M. Haroon flayed the railway administration for not starting the gauge conversion work in Madurai-Bodi section even three years after the closure of the line. “The people of Theni did not ask for gauge conversion… It (not starting the work) is affecting transportation of goods like spices and tea,” he said.

He wanted the railway to set up its goods booking offices in Theni, Bodi and Usilampatti.

Other MPs who attended the meeting were N.S.V. Chitthan, O.S. Manian, S.S. Palanimanickam and Ramasubbu. Chief Administrative Officer (Construction), Southern Railway, S. Vijayakumaran, and Divisional Railway Managers, A.K. Rastogi (Madurai) and Manjula Rangarajan (Tiruchi) were present.

While new line projects worth Rs.5,000 crore had been sanctioned, the budgetary allocation made for 2012-13 was only around Rs.100 crore

Though around 30 MPs representing constituencies coming under the Madurai and Tiruchi railway divisions were invited, only seven turned up.

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Only seven out of 30 MPs attaended the meeting. This shows how responsible our MPs are?

from:  Kalidas
Posted on: Sep 13, 2013 at 18:43 IST

Unless the State Government participates in major railway projects, it would be difficult for railways to complete the the ongoing projects in the State.. At least the State should come forward to share a portion of the gauge conversion between Villupuram Dindigul which would enable Southern Railway to run more trains on the section. It would also reduce the burden on roads.

from:  S.Vydhianathan
Posted on: Sep 13, 2013 at 16:52 IST

The first preference for rail development in southern TN should be the doubling of entire rail route from Chennai to Nagarcoil. This will help speeding up of all trains and also curtail the unnecessary detaining of trains at intermediate stations for crossing of other trains. Of course, conversion to brode gauge and laying of new lines also should be taken up wherever necessary.

from:  t.sudhakaran
Posted on: Sep 13, 2013 at 11:39 IST

To Vaidya's observation, I'd like to state that in South India, fewer people travel by train because there are fewer trains. Not that they want to travel by bus, but there is really not much options available. In North India, there are several trains, even in commercially unviable routes because of policies of previous governments and railway ministry. Try comparing the availability on trains on any routes in North India with South India. The Indian railways must rethink its strategies and start focusing on areas where it not only runs trains but also earns money for it.

from:  Solomon
Posted on: Sep 13, 2013 at 11:03 IST

Total MPs elected from Tamilnadu is only 39.How can 30 MPs from 39 be just from Trichy and Madurai railway divisions itself?I think the lines which are being referred to are not commercially unviable..

from:  praveen
Posted on: Sep 13, 2013 at 09:54 IST

These people will even not attend the meeting and govt always just show the number magic, not allocating funds and we know how the funds are being utilized these days.Who think about Andhra Pradesh, which is yielding more than half of the revenue for railways? So many projects just announced not yet started, again a new budget will come, the budget book will be decorated so beautiful and read it. that's it. no use at all to the people. wait all Govt's people will show you what are they in the coming elections, for especially Congress.

from:  kumar
Posted on: Sep 13, 2013 at 09:38 IST

In south india the demand for traffic is not much compared to the north,and Railways always looks for places where they hafve a good earning to further invest.Here in south India, people go here and there by frequent bus services and seldom they go on a long trip.Here in south , railways have to invest and wait for its return.

from:  vaidya
Posted on: Sep 13, 2013 at 09:10 IST

Instead of the color TVs or Mixie grinder the government can invest on Railways so that common man can be protected from the fuel price raise

from:  Routhira
Posted on: Sep 13, 2013 at 06:58 IST

I think many of those who didn't attend were DMK MPs.

from:  Rajesh
Posted on: Sep 13, 2013 at 05:08 IST
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