Rlys. cool to growth potential in Mangalore

MANGALORE NOV. 9. Even though Mangalore is one of the 60 main junctions in the country, it is yet to break the shackles put by the bureaucracy of the Railway. Thanks to the callousness shown by successive MPs of Mangalore, some of whom have even become Union ministers, the Mangalore-Sakleshpur (141 km.) gauge conversion work has been pending since 1996.

This route, when completed, will reduce the distance between Mangalore and Chennai by 141 km. and also provide a rail link between the hinterland and Mangalore Port.

Another important link would be interfacing of the grand trunk route with the Konkan Railway and the feeder line between Bangalore and Mangalore. It would open an alternative route in Chennai-Bangalore-Mumbai sector but also bring this sector under the tourism triangle, according to N.Yogish Bhat, Mangalore MLA,

Mr. Bhat told The Hindu that Mangalore would get direct links to Shimoga, Hubli, and Bellary once gauge conversion between Sakleshpur and Mangalore was established. He said after the commissioning of oil refinery, petroleum products were transported to Bangalore on NH48, which included a 50-km. stretch of ghat road. With the proposed Mangalore-Bangalore Petroleum Pipeline (MBPP) expected to take at least seven years for completion, Mr. Bhat said there was no alternative but to speed up the completion of the gauge conversion work.

Various communities in Mangalore, especially a large chunk of them from Gujrat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Delhi craved for daily trains to Rajkot, Nizamuddin, and Mumbai (via Madgaon and Pune), said the Surathkal MLA, Mr. Vijaykumar Shetty.

He stressed on the need for night passenger train to Guruvayoor.

The railway traffic survey cell of Indian Railways had identified these routes as having immense potential, he said. With the Sabarimala season just around the corner, the devotees of Lord Ayyappa had expressed their desire to the railways to run special trains to Sabarimala twice a week during the season.

The Mangalore railway station also required more facilities such as opening more ticket counters, introduction of IVRS, Tatkal scheme, improving the arrival departure enquiry services, provision of automatic platform ticket vending machines, and appointing Kannada knowing people at the counters.

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