Industrialists in Coimbatore should consider setting up private freight terminal to move goods manufactured or produced in Coimbatore and its neighbourhood to various parts of the country, Divisional Railway Manager Sujatha Jayaraj has said.
Speaking at a meeting organised at the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Coimbatore she said that for goods transported from such private terminals, there would be no terminal charges.
The meeting was organised to explore the possibility of improving freight movement from the region.
She said that to help improve freight movement, the Salem Division would appoint two commercial inspectors who would liaison with various trade bodies in the region and also visit manufacturing hubs. They would help industrialists and farmers move goods through rail.
The Division earned around Rs. 10 crore a month from freight movement but it had come down to Rs. 7 – 8 crore on account of the drop in cement off take. On an average, the Division moved cement weighing two million tonnes. But this year it was less than 1.50 million tonnes. She said that depending on the goods to be sent from the Coimbatore region, the railways had a variety of services to offer – from attaching coaches to introducing a special train to move goods.
She even mooted the idea of naming the train ‘Kongu Express’ on the lines of Kairali Express, which is used to carry goods from Kerala to other parts of the country.
In response to queries from members of the Chamber of the Railway Struggle Committee she said that the Division was keen on attending to any teething troubles in this regard. Ms. Jayaraj promised to explore the possibility of running the Coimbatore-Mettupalayam passenger train on Sundays. Two reasons for the Division not being able to run the trains was that the coaches were needed for maintenance on Sundays and the shortage of spare coaches. On the work in progress in the Coimbatore – Dindigul stretch, she said that the work on acquiring land on a seven km stretch had been completed. She hoped that the work would be completed by 2014.
P.R. Natarajan, MP, said that Coimbatore was badly in need of a Kairali type train to move goods – especially pumps, motors and other agriculture products. He suggested that as a first step the Division could try running such a train once a month, at least to start with.
R.R. Balasundaram, president, sought speedy completion of the Coimbatore – Dindigul line doubling work, a night train to Bangalore and more services between Coimbatore and Mettupalayam.
Chamber representatives, members of the Railway Struggle Committee railway officials and others were present.