The Tiruchi District Tiny and Small Scale Industries’ Association (TIDITSSIA) has welcomed the Union Railway Budget announcements, describing them as progressive and timely to expedite the country’s economic development, and has reminded the Railway Ministry of some of the vital requirements in the Central part of Tamil Nadu.
According to the TIDITSSIA President S. Sridharan, the announcement to arrive at a vision document for the next 10 years was an important move. The decision on private participation in goods transport was a welcome development, and the proposal to transport agricultural produces in refrigerated carriages will help in stabilisation of prices of vegetables, fruits, and other perishable products throughout the country, he said.
Mr. Sridharan thanked the Railway Ministry for refraining from increasing parcel charges or passenger tariff, and for reducing service charges in sleeper coaches and air-conditioned coaches to Rs. 10 and Rs. 20 respectively. Likewise, the idea to set up e-ticket booths in colleges, hospitals, universities and courts will create convenience and enhance patronage. The announcement on public-private partnership for railway projects that time-bound clearance will be provided (within 100 days) will serve as a right impetus for development.
‘Restore Rockfort Express’
However, the absence of an exclusive train between Tiruchi and Chennai was a disappointment. To fulfil the huge demand, the Railways should restore the Rockfort Express to Tiruchi and operate another train on the Chennai-Mayiladuthurai sector, Mr. Sridharan said.
As for the target for 1,000 km of new line every year set by the Railway Ministry, he emphasised that double-lining of the track between Chengalpattu and Nagercoil must be accorded priority in the first phase. Likewise, the Railways must seriously consider laying a new track connecting Tiruchi with Namakkal via Musiri, for economic uplift of rural areas.
An inter-city express from Tiruchi to Chennai or from Madurai to Chennai with a only stoppage in Tiruchi will be well patronised by the business community and professionals. Such a train with luxury features will serve as the right alternative to air travel, said Mr. Sridharan.