Tharoor rules out bifurcation of division
The much-awaited Mainline Electrical Multiple Unit (MEMU) service from Kollam to Nagercoil became a reality on Saturday with the Union Minister of State for Human Resources Development Shashi Tharoor flagging off the maiden service from the Kollam railway station.
The train, flagged off at 11 a.m., will have 29 halts between Kollam junction and Nagercoil junction. It will reach its destination at 3.15 p.m. and in the return trip will reach Kollam at 9.40 p.m. as per the time table.
In his inaugural address, Mr. Tharoor said there was no move to bifurcate the Thiruvananthapuram Railway Division. He said, following fears over such a move and a dharna planned in this connection at Thiruvananthapuram on December 5, he had got in touch with Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and top officers of the Railways. All of them had told him that there was no such proposal.
But Union Minister of State for Labour Kodikunnil Suresh felt the Railway authorities cannot be fully believed on the issue of the bifurcation of Thiruvananthapuram division. In his address, he said the Railways had initially given the same assurance on the Palakkad division but that division was later bifurcated.
Other aspects that came up in Mr. Tharoor’s address was regarding the MEMU shed and stabling yard at Kollam. Its operations would start from next fiscal year. Mr. Tharoor said when he talked about the issue with Railway authorities, he was informed that operating the shed with one MEMU rake was not economically viable. After arrival of the second rake, the shed would start operations.
Mr. Suresh wanted the time table of the MEMU trains originating from Kollam to be scheduled in such a manner that commuters coming by the Punalur-Kollam train would get connectivity. At least in the next Railway Budget, a train from Punalur to Guruvayur via Kottayam should be sanctioned. Mr. Suresh also wanted the Madura-Kollam passenger to be extended to Punalur.