Staff Reporter

PUDUCHERRY: The Puducherry-Mangalore via Mahe weekly train service will be inaugurated on January 11 or 12. Union Minister of State for Railways E. Ahmed will inaugurate the train from Puducherry, Union Minister of State for Planning, Parliamentary Affairs and Culture V. Narayanasamy said here on Friday. The train would leave Mangalore at 4.30 p.m on Monday and reach Puducherry the next day by 8 a.m. It would make its return journey on Tuesday from Puducherry at 4 p.m and reach Mangalore the next day. The train would pass through Virudhachalam, Salem, Shoranur, Palakkad and Mahe, he said.

The train would connect Puducherry and its enclave Mahe, which was a long-pending demand, he said, adding that the government had approached the Union Ministry of Railways to provide train services linking Karaikal and Yanam with the Puducherry region.

Stating that the Central government was keen to assist the territorial administration in developing infrastructure in all four regions, he said all pending projects such as construction of medical college, women and child hospital, bridges across the Ariankuppam backwaters and the Arasalar River at Karaikal would be completed in a time-bound manner.

The Union Ministry for Information and Technology would provide the territorial administration Rs.100 crore to develop infrastructure at the proposed Special Economic Zone at Kalapet. The government had already identified 10 acres of land at Kalapet for setting up the SEZ.

The Ministry would be collaborating with Puducherry Industrial Promotion Development and Investment Corporation Limited (PIPDIC) for establishing the SEZ. All most all major information technology companies would have their base in the SEZ, the Union Minister said.

The foundation for the National Institute of Technology at Karaikal would be laid in February, he informed. On the status of separate statehood for the Union Territory, he said the proposal had been temporarily shelved.