Pashchima Karavali Railway Yatri Abhivrddhi Samithi is opposed to the Railway Ministry’s proposal to extend the Bengaluru-Kannur overnight express via Mangaluru to Kozhikode, saying it will drastically reduce seat availability to passengers from coastal Karnataka.
The opposition comes in the backdrop of Kozhikode MP M.K. Raghavan recently meeting Railway Board Chairman and CEO Jaya Varma Sinha with a request to extend Bengaluru-Kannur overnight express via Mangaluru Central to Kozhikode. Southern Railway has sent a proposal to the Board recommending extension of Train No. 16511/512, though the train belongs to South Western Railway.
On September 22, Samithi president G. Hanumantha Kamath told The Hindu that the extension will severely affect people travelling from Mangaluru and surrounding areas to and from State capital Bengaluru. “What is the need for this extension that entails a circuitous journey for passengers from Kozhikode to Bengaluru when they have a shorter daily service from Kannur to Bengaluru (Train 16528) via Palakkad?”
Another weekly service, Mangaluru Central-Yeshwantpur Express via Kozhikode and Palakkad is also available to them.
The earlier extension of Yeshwantpur-Mangaluru overnight express, at the behest of then Minister of State for Railways late E. Ahmed, itself was uncalled for. And the present move will severely impair connectivity to Mangaluru, he said.
Mr. Kamath said the Samithi will urge Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel, who is attending the Parliament session, to register strong opposition to the extension with the Railway Minister. “When people are demanding more trains from the coastal region to the capital of Karnataka, this move is uncalled for,” he said.
Vinay Bharadwaj, a patron from Bengaluru, said the Ministry should run the train only till Mangaluru Central. If Southern Railway wishes, it can run the idling rake till Kozhikode with a different train number so that the berth quota for coastal Karnataka is not affected, he said.
Several railway passengers’ associations, including those from Hassan, Chikkamagaluru, Mysuru and Davanagere, too have opposed the extension proposal.