Syed Muthahar Saqaf
The much awaited safety appraisal is yet to take place
TIRUCHI: With the trial run on the newly laid broad gauge line between Tiruvarur and Nagore completed about three months ago by Railway officials, public and representatives of various organisations now want the mandatory inspection by the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) to be done as early as possible so that the section could be opened to traffic again.
The delay is causing concern to the people in Delta districts since there is a huge movement of travellers to pilgrim towns such as Velankanni, Nagore and Tirunallar from across the country.
The section has been closed for railway traffic for the last two years following the commencement of the BG work. The Railway Board had sanctioned BG conversion project from Tiruchi to Nagore way back in 1995 and the works were taken up in phases, starting with Tiruchi–Thanjavur, followed by Thanjavur-Tiruvarur. However, work on the 31-km Tiruvarur- Nagore section was taken up only in 2006 for reasons known only to the Railway Ministry. The BG works were completed a few months ago and a trial run of the material train was conducted on March 29. However, the much expected CRS inspection is yet to take place. Even Minister of State for Railways R. Velu had assured on a couple of occasions last year that the project would be completed by December 2007.
The people expected the Railways to introduce train services at least before the annual Sandanakoodu festival at Nagore Dargah on June 15 for the benefit of a large number of devotees visiting the shrine.
“Though representations were made in this regard, there was a studied silence on the part of the railways. We are totally disappointed that the railways have turned a deaf ear to all our cries to open this vital section before the Nagore festival”, lament Ahmed Ehsanullah of Nagore and P. Doraisingam of Koradachery.
Railway sources said a team of its top officials led by Additional General Manager A.P. Misra, Divisional Railway Manager R.C. Jat and other senior officials inspected the new track on motor trolleys last Saturday as a prelude to the CRS inspection. This has revived hopes of an early CRS inspection.