The brief visit of Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi to Coimbatore on Tuesday en route to Kanjikode, near Palakkad, to lay the foundation stone for the coach factory there, is seen as an opportunity for the Coimbatore Railway Struggle Committee to renew its demands for better rail infrastructure in the city.
Mr. Trivedi would be accompanied by Chairman of the Railway Board Vinay Mittal, Union Minister of State for Railways H. Muniyappa and General Manager of Southern Railway Deepak Krishan and other officials.
It may be recalled that the Struggle Committee, led by Coimbatore MP P.R. Natarajan met most of these officials in New Delhi recently, seeking to draw their attention to the requirement of Coimbatore.
According to G.K. Nagaraj and R. Raveendran, the Struggle Committee would seek to impress upon the Minister, once again, about the infrastructure needs of Coimbatore.
Considering the fact that the Podanur – Irugur – Podanur line is being used for diversion of trains to skip Coimbatore, the Struggle Committee wanted the proposal to double this line to be dropped and declare the existing line as a dedicated one for cargo movement. Thus, future diversion of trains skipping Coimbatore could be avoided.
The other demand that the Struggle Committee would seek to place before the Minister is to ensure stoppage of 13 pairs of trains at Coimbatore Junction and minimum quota of berths.
The diversion of trains will enhance the connectivity of Coimbatore with Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, Kannur, Mangalore, Yeswantpur, Bangalore besides Chennai and a couple of destinations up north.
In the absence of adequate train services, Coimbatore is left to rely on Omni buses.
With the release of the new railway time table in July and implementation of the Advance Reserve Period (ARP) to begin shortly, an announcement from the Minister on these requirements was keenly expected.
The launch of ARP will be on March 10, and an announcement in the budget scheduled for March 14 would only send reservation programmes haywire.
The Railway Minister would also be apprised of the need to improve the amenities at Coimbatore Junction besides improvements pending at stations such as Podanur, Coimbatore North, Irugur, Peelamedu and Singanallur. The Struggle Committee would also seek additional coaches in the Coimbatore – Mettupalayam train service besides its operation on Sundays, as well. The team would also seek expeditious steps to open the defunct railway stations at Thudialur, Urumandampalayam, Pudupudur and Veerapani on the Coimbatore – Mettupalayam section. The ongoing works for conversion of the Podanur – Pollachi and Pollachi – Palakkad sections, moving at a snail's pace now, would also get the Minister's attention.
Considering the revenue generated and the growing travel needs, the Struggle Committee would reiterate the need for introducing night trains from Coimbatore to Rameswaram, Tuticorin, Tiruchendur, Tirunelveli/Kanyakumari, Mayiladuthurai, Puducherry, Bangalore, Mangalore, Goa, Kolkatta and Thiruvananthapuram.
There is also a need for additional trains to Chennai besides the need for increasing the frequency of the Coimbatore – Hazrat Nizamuddin Express. Extension of the Jodhpur – Bangalore Express up to Coimbatore, extension of the Coimbatore – Jaipur Express up to Ajmer and augmentation of one more AC chair car coach in the Coimbatore – Mayiladuthurai Jan Shatabdi Express.
It is expected that the fourth rail coach factory at Kanjikode, next to ICF, Perambur, RCF at Kapurthala and Coach Factory, Rae Bareilly, will not only step up the availability of coaches for new trains and replacement of old and overused coaches but would also benefit the SME segment in Coimbatore.
The Committee to impress upon Minister, once again, about infrastructure needs of Coimbatore The other demand include stoppage of 13 pairs of trains at Coimbatore Junction
The Committee to impress upon Minister, once again, about infrastructure needs of Coimbatore
The other demand include stoppage of 13 pairs of trains at Coimbatore Junction