S. Vijay Kumar
Madurai division has made it highest in Southern Railway
MADURAI: The Madurai Division has recorded 14 per cent growth in passenger traffic making it the highest in Southern Railway. The number of passengers handled by the division increased from 2.11 crore in 2004-05 to 2.41 crore in 2005-06.
The division that extends to 13 districts, including two in Kerala, earned Rs. 142.75 crore, 11.7 per cent more than the previous year. Despite fragmented sections on the Madurai-Rameswaram and Madurai-Kollam stretches and closure of the Tiruchi-Pudukottai route for gauge conversion works, the division managed to surpass targets.
Talking to The Hindu here on Tuesday, the Divisional Railway Manager, B.N. Rajasekhar, said the total earnings had increased by 10.9 per cent. On the ticket-checking front, the division had earned Rs. 1.51 crore. Most of the defaulters (of ticketless travel and excess luggage) were found on the Tirunelveli-Shencottah and Shencottah-Kollam sections.
Attributing the growth to the increased carrying capacity of broad gauge trains (introduced after gauge conversion in many sections) and operation of hundreds of special trains during festival seasons, Mr. Rajasekhar said the revenue was set to increase after the completion of ongoing gauge conversion works in the division.
Tenders were floated for construction of a bridge across the Vaigai as part of the Maduarai-Dindigul broad gauge doubling project.
"We are looking at inviting private participation in creating modern infrastructure at major railway stations. Letters are being sent to corporate houses and industrialists informing them that they can establish facilities such as escalators and maintain them under the `pay and use' system."
The Manamadurai-Rameswaram and Punalur-Kollam sections would be closed soon to facilitate gauge conversion, he said.