Staff Reporter

Pollachi: Dindigul–Pollachi–Coimbatore and Pollachi–Palakkad gauge conversion work would be completed by 2011, said Southern Railway Chief Administrative Officer (Construction) R. Ramanathan on Friday.

Mr. Ramanathan was talking to reporters after inspecting the rail overbridge construction work on Pollachi–Kottur Road at Makkinampatti and Vadugapalayam besides other gauge conversion work along with Pollachi MP K. Sugumar and MLAs V. Jayaraman and S. Damodaran.

Mr. Ramanathan said the gauge conversion work from Coimbatore to Dindigul via Podanur and Pollachi and Pollachi to Palakkad had been divided into four packages and the work was progressing. The total distance is 225 km and the total cost of the works is expected to be Rs. 900 crore. Fifty per cent of the work in the area from Dindigul to Palani (58 km) had been completed and it would be completed by March 2011. Work between Palani and Pollachi (58 km) and from Pollachi to Palakkad (55 km) would be completed by June 2011. Work in the Pollachi-Podanur sector covering 40 km would be completed by December 2011.

During 2009-10 Rs. 31 crore was allotted to broadgauge conversion work whereas the actual expenditure was Rs. 140 core. In the fiscal 2010-2011, the allotment was Rs. 60 crore whereas the allotment sought was Rs. 175 crore. Contractors have been assigned for the work in the entire distance and it has gained momentum now. Mr. Ramanathan said 246 bridges from Dindigul to Pollachi, 166 bridges from Pollachi to Palakkad and 85 from Pollachi to Podanur were being rebuilt.

During the last fiscal Rs. 238 crore was allocated for conversion of meter gauge to broad gauge whereas the expenditure incurred was Rs. 554 crore. In the current year the demand placed was for Rs. 550 crore whereas the allocation was Rs. 311 crore, he said. The demand for these works during 2010 was Rs. 200 crore and 2011 for completion requirement would be Rs 250 crore.

All stations in the Dindigul–Pollachi–Coimbatore and Pollachi–Palakkad sectors numbering around 16 were being upgraded, Mr. Ramanathan said.

On the Salem – Karur line (85 km) work has been taken up and that in Salem–Namakkal stretch (53 km) will be completed by June 2011. Namakkal–Karur stretch (35 km) will be completed by 2012. Proposals for the Palani–Erode line for 90 km have been sent to the Railway High level Committee after feasibility study. Work on the 10-km stretch from Nagapattinam–Velankanni is progressing fast and the line will be thrown open by March 2010 and the 10-km stretch from Nagore to Karaikkal will be completed by December.

Stations located on the broad gauge route are being renovated. During 2009-2010, the allocation was Rs. 238 crore whereas the expenditure was Rs 554 crore, for the year 2010-2011 the demand is Rs 550 crore and works have begun with an allocation of Rs 311 crore. Southern Railway has written to the Government seeking additional and adequate allocation for the timely completion of the work.