Land acquisition a major hurdle to track doubling

Crying for space: The remodelling of the Ernakulam Junction railway station under public-private partnership is under the consideration of the Railways.

Crying for space: The remodelling of the Ernakulam Junction railway station under public-private partnership is under the consideration of the Railways.  

Renovated Harbour Terminus station to be ready by September, says official

The inordinate delay in land acquisition is the main hurdle to doubling rail tracks through Kottayam and Alappuzha, K.S. Jain, Additional Divisional Railway Manager, Thiruvananthapuram, has said.

“Little has happened though the State government had appointed an official of the rank of Joint Secretary to oversee land acquisition,” he added.

Mr. Jain was addressing the media at the Ernakulam Junction railway station after Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu inaugurated passenger lifts at Ernakulam Junction through videoconferencing from New Delhi on Saturday.

Land acquisition is posing hurdles in Kottayam and in the 18-km-long Haripad-Ambalappuzha sector in Alappuzha, he said.

On the issue of 110 acres of railway land lying idle at Ponnurunni near Vyttila here, despite proposals to convert it into a station-cum-yard, Mr. Jain said it would considerably speed up train movement through Ernakulam by decongesting Ernakulam Junction.

“The area needs a wider 200-metre-long approach road from the Thammanam-Pullepady Road. The wide circular approach road must also have separate entry and exit for smooth movement of vehicles, he suggested.

“An in-principle approval for the project is awaited from the Southern Railway headquarters, and people’s representatives like P.T. Thomas, MLA, have been demanding the early implementation of the proposal,” he added.

On adopting public-private partnership (PPP) to renovate Ernakulam Junction and Thiruvananthapuram Central railway stations, Mr. Jain said their remodelling was under consideration. He added that a decision of the Railway Board on the matter was awaited.

Responding to the “inordinate delay” in completing the renovation work at the Harbour Terminus railway station in Willingdon Island here, Southern Railway Ernakulam Area Manager R. Harikrishnan said all major works were over.

“Three more rail loads of ballast will be spread over the tracks in the coming week, and the renovated premises will be ready for inauguration in early September,” he added.

Old Railway Station

To a query whether 182 trees would have to be cut to renovate the Old Railway Station, Mr. Harikrishnan said: “The 182 trees include small and big trees which grew on unused rail tracks and on the station’s boundary facing two roads. Resumption of train operations needs removal of much less number of trees.”

He added that the railways were open to the construction of an underpass at Pachalam considering the opposition to a bridge there, for resumption of services to the historic station which witnessed footfall of leaders including Mahatma Gandhi.

Funds aplenty

Earlier in his televised address, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said the Centre had allocated ₹1,000 crore each in the past three years to Kerala for railway development work. This is 121%higher than that during the corresponding period earlier.

But a good share of funds lapse owing to non-implementation of projects, railway officials said.

Hibi Eden, MLA, too was present.

But a good share of funds lapse due to non implementation of projects and delay in land acquisition for track doubling, Railway officials said.

Hibi Eden, MLA too was present at the function.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 5:33:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/land-acquisition-a-major-hurdle-to-track-doubling/article19526707.ece

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