Achuthanandan urged to protect State's interests
`Centre succumbing to pressure from regional parties'Railway division at Kannur mooted
KOZHIKODE: The Malabar Train Development Action Committee said here on Sunday that the proposed Salem railway division would harm the prospects of the Palakkad railway division, as a long stretch of rail line that is now part of the Palakad division would be attached to the new railway division.
N.B. Krishna Kurup, general secretary of the action committee, said this would, in turn, jeopardise the development of the entire North Kerala region.
Minimum rail line
He said if the Salem division was established, Palakad would be left with only around 400 km of rail line.
At least 600 km rail line was needed for a Railway division to be viable, Mr. Kurup said.
The rail lines from Thiruppathur to Pothannur, Erode to Tiruchi, Salem to Mettur dam, Coimbatore to Udhagamandalam and Karoor to Dindigal, which are now under Palakad division, will be brought under the proposed Salem division.
The action committee said the threat to the Palakkad division was yet another example of the manner in which the interests of the State were being undermined by the Union Government by succumbing to pressure tactics of regional parties such as the DMK, PMK and RJD and granting them excessive favours.
The establishment of a railway division at Salem would cost nearly Rs.100 crore, it said.
The committee said the Palakad-Mettupalayam-Udhagamandalam rail line and the Coimbatore-Erode-Tiruchi line should remain in Palakad division in order to ensure the survival of the 50-year-old rail line.
New rail lines
If a railway division was unavoidable at Salem, rail lines from Tiruchi, Bangalore and Chennai could be brought under its jurisdiction, the committee said.
It also mooted a proposal for a new railway division with Kannur as its centre. Rail lines from Konkan railway could be used for the purpose.
The committee pointed out that a zonal office for railway divisions at Palakad, Thiruvananthapuram and the one proposed in Kannur could be established in Kozhikode.
In a letter to Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, the Malabar Train Development Action Committee urged the Government to pressure the Centre to taken up more programmes for rail development in the State.