The All India Railway Users Association has called for shifting of the Kottayam railway goods yard to a suburban area to facilitate the development of Kottayam railway station into an exclusive passengers' station.
The station, one of the proposed ‘Adarsh' railway stations in the State, has been facing major constraints on account of lack of space for expansion. In a memorandum, the All India Railway Users Association said that inadequate parking space, need for additional ticket counters, development of new access points to the station and a host of other complaints had been plaguing the station for long.
The station is one of the major transit points for Sabarimala pilgrims as well as other pilgrims for the St. Alphonsa Church at Bharananganam, St. Mary's Church at Manrcadu, St. George's Church at Puthuppally, Vaikom Sreemahadevar Temple and the Sreemahaganapathy Temple at Malliyoor.
The lack of parking facilities and other basic amenities for the pilgrims create problems not only for the pilgrims, but also for the normal commuters.
A demand has also been made for opening a new ticket counter facility at the northern side of the station. This would help the passengers coming from that side to avoid the travel through the town. According to the Railway users association, the key to the development of the railway station and the adjoining areas would be the relocation of the railway goods yard from the present position. Presently, the railway authorities are trying to acquire land near the station itself so that a new yard could come up when the space occupied by the present yard is taken over for expansion of the station. This goes against the system followed by the Railways for ‘Adarsh' stations, says, Mr. Abraham. Moreover, the authorities would be able to acquire land at a lower cost if the yard were relocated to a suburban area.
Making a case for development of Kottayam as an exclusive passenger station, he points out that if the yard were pushed further north, it would affect the development of the proposed bypass roads connecting the railway station road and Iranjal in the eastern side, which has been detailed in the Town Planning scheme.
They also point out that the goods carrier traffic through the town, one of the major components of traffic congestion, could be brought down if the yard were moved to a suburban area.