Staff Reporter

Samithy says delay will cause funds to lapse

‘Railways delaying commissioning of sixth platform’

‘Hand over renovation works of stations to CPWD’

KOCHI: Passengers’ and residents’ associations have expressed concern at the inordinate delay by the Southern Railway in completing rail-doubling work in the Ernakulam-Kayamkulam sector and the subsequent lapse of huge amounts of funds.

With the Railway budget awaited just a few weeks from now, the Thrissur Railway Passengers’ Association and the Karithala Poura Samithy – a conclave of residents staying near the Ernakulam Junction railway station, have demanded that track doubling from Ernakulam through Kottayam/Alappuzha and Shornur be taken up on a war-footing. Another demand is to commission platform six at the Ernakulam Junction railway station, the work on which has been lagging for the past decade because of inadequate coordination between different wings of the Railways.

The Railways’ inability to complete line-doubling works and commission the platform is a major reason for trains being detained for a long time in different stations.

These, and other organizations that spearhead the cause of passengers, have also demanded the introduction of more trains from Kerala to Bangalore and other metropolitan cities where substantial number of Malayalis reside. More passenger trains and Mainline Electrical Multiple Units (MEMUs) linking neighbouring districts is yet another demand of the Passengers’ Association. Another long-pending demand is to add more coaches in passenger and express trains and the initiation of steps to ensure the quality of food supplied in trains.

So far, the progress of works under various plan-schemes of the Railways is far from satisfactory, said Viju Choolakkal, the general secretary of the Poura Samithy. “The Railways is unable to execute doubling work even in stretches where land was acquired many years ago. Examples are the Ernakulam-Mulanthuruthy and the Chenganoor-Kayamkulam lines.

No senior officer visited the stretches to assess the progress of works. The General Manager of Southern Railway must visit Kerala more often,” he said.

The work to develop the eastern entry to the Ernakulam Junction station and the platform/track-laying work at the entry must be handed over to the Rail Vikas Nigam Limited, which built a modern railway station at Edapally and the railway line from Edapally to the Vallarpadam container transshipment terminal on time, Mr. Choolakkal said. He added that the Construction wing of the Railway failed in executing even urgent civil works.

It took seven years to complete a road overbridge at Thripunithura and the Railways’ delay held up work on the Pullepady ROB for many years. The development of the eastern entry to the Ernakulam Town railway station too is indefinitely held up, he said.

The Samithy further demanded that since the Railways is unable to renovate the two main stations in Ernakulam despite assurances made many years ago, the works be handed over to the Central Public Works Department (CPWD).

It has also demanded that the Railways release detailed accounts of funds handed over to the Trivandrum and Palakkad Divisions for executing different projects, the progress of works and the amounts spent on them during the past four years.