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“State should evince interest in completing railway projects”

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NEW PLANT: Minister of State for Railways R.Velu laying the foundation stone for IRCTCs drinking water bottling plant at Palur near Chengalpattu on Sunday.
NEW PLANT: Minister of State for Railways R.Velu laying the foundation stone for IRCTCs drinking water bottling plant at Palur near Chengalpattu on Sunday.

Staff Reporter

R. Velu lays foundation for drinking water bottling plant

KANCHEEPURAM: The State government should evince interest in completing railway projects in Tamil Nadu, said the Union Minister for State (Railways), R. Velu.

Talking to reporters at Palur railway station near Chengalpattu after laying the foundation stone for the Rs.13.50-crore drinking water bottling plant to be set up by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the Union Minister said that in the last few years the Railway Ministry had sanctioned 108 rail-overbridge (ROB) projects for Tamil Nadu.

However, only around 10 projects were completed every year while others were delayed due to various reasons such as land acquisition, approval of general arrangement drawings etc.

In order to expedite the ROB projects, the Railway Ministry had even suggested that the Indian Railway Construction Company could take up 35 projects and similar number of projects could be taken up by the State government, Mr. Velu added.

Responding to a question on the progress of railway coach manufacturing unit to come up at Kerala, the Union Minister said land had been identified at Palakad and a feasibility survey has been taken up.

The production capacity at Integral Coach Factory at Chennai and Rail Coach Factory at Kaburthala have been increased to 1450 coaches apart from the steps initiated to produce 1000 coaches from the coach building units at Raebereli and Bihar.

Fares not increased

Earlier addressing the gathering at the foundation stone laying ceremony, Mr. Velu claimed that fares collected from passengers travelling by buses were almost twice as that of the charges collected from commuters travelling in trains. However, the Railway Ministry had not increased the passenger fares in the last two budgets.

Several new avenues were explored and implemented to augment the revenue of Indian Railways and simultaneously the amount of money spent for creating / upgrading passenger amenities in railway junctions/stations have also been increased by twice as that of the total amount spent for this purpose four-and-half years ago.

Claiming that the drinking water bottling plant to come up at Palur would achieve its breakeven point within three years, Mr. Velu said that water bottles to be manufactured at Palur plant would be made available for sale to passengers at the railway junctions/stations coming under Chennai, Bangalore, Tiruchi and Salem divisions.

Commercial production next year

Participating in the function, the Additional General Manager, Southern Railway, A.P. Mishra said that the new plant, having installed capacity of 1.80 lakh litres per day, would commence its commercial production by next September.

The Chengalpattu MLA, K. Arumugham, Tiruporur MLA, D. Moorthy, Divisional Railway Manager (Chennai), Kulshrestha, Regional Director, IRCTC, V. Sriram were among those who participated in the function.

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