M. Gunasekaran

A dream come true for the commuters in west Tamil Nadu

POLLACHI: It was a dream come true for the people of western parts of Tamil Nadu. Pollachi, Palani and Udumalpet will soon find a place in the broad gauge map with the announcement by the Railway Minister, Lalu Prasad on Friday.

Significant development

Mr. Prasad's announcement that the gauge conversion works on Coimbatore - Pollachi, Palakkad-Pollachi-Dindigul sections have been included in the railway budget brought cheer to people in the region. The 224.5 km track would be converted into broad gauge at a cost of Rs.354 crores. Initial allocation of Rs.1 crore was made in the budget.

The jubilant Pollachi MP C. Krishnan called it a significant development. "The entire region was neglected by the authorities for over four decades. I hope funds would be allocated further in the near future. We believe this would advance the region's industrial progress.'' He thanked his leader and MDMK General Secretary Vaiko for his initiative.

With the gauge conversion work at Dindigul, Manamadurai regions, there was an apprehension that it would become an island MG section. For years the railway authorities had paid little attention to improving the facilities citing poor passenger patronage and freight movement.

Long-pending demand

The long-pending demand saw things happening in its favour .

The Union Minister of State for Railways, R. Velu convinced the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission and got the nod a week ago. The extended railway board also approved it. The Pollachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry vice-president, G.D. Gopalakrishnan says it will give a fillip to the coir industry of Pollachi and tea industry of Valparai.

R. Manoharan of Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam, which had collected over 50,000 signatures in support of the project, demanded that the work should commence immediately with additional allocation and completed within a specified time frame.

Mr. Gopalakrishnan and Mr. Manoharan suggested that taking up Pollachi-Coimbatore section first would help the railways operate Cheran Express and Kurla Express from Pollachi instead of the congested junction of Coimbatore.

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