Slow pace of various ongoing railway related development works are being attributed to allocation of inadequate funds by the contractors and officials at the field level.
Most of the projects taken up by the Railways in Coimbatore region are found to be progressing “behind schedule”, says R. Raveendran of Residents Awareness Association of Coimbatore.
Infrastructure and passenger amenities related works such as platform, roofing, lights at Podanur, facelift to the Western side entrance on Goods Shed Road at Coimbatore Junction, roofs, platforms, seating facility at Coimbatore North and similar facilities at Peelamedu are either progressing at a slow pace or had not commenced at all.
Irugur sports very poor passenger amenities and passengers are forced to crawl under the waiting coaches of the goods train in the absence of a foot overbridge.
The situation in Singanallur station calls for attention since the platforms are not passenger-friendly without any roofing.
The foot overbridge work has been left half-way. Inquiries with the contractors reveal that most of the works were almost reaching the stage of contractual failures either due to inadequate or inordinate delay in release of funds and cost escalation.
The other example of slow pace of work owing to inadequate allocation is the gauge conversion works between Palakkad – Pollachi and Podanur – Pollachi - Udumalpet – Palani – Dindigul sections. Convenor of the Coimbatore Railway Struggle Committee G.K. Nagaraj points out that facelift and improvements to these stations with stoppage of some of the important trains besides ensuring the comfort of passengers from North and Eastern part of Coimbatore will also help in decongesting Coimbatore Junction.
A top railway official on conditions of anonymity, says that no project suffers fund constraints individually. Given the volume of work going on and the growing demand, fund requirements are huge for the Railways as an organisation. However, the revised grants-in-aid are expected to come in soon. Works will be then speeded up with a fixed time frame for completion, he adds.