Central districts waiting to know fate of proposals on new trains

Syed Muthahar Saqaf

They were announced in the previous budgets which are yet to be implemented

“MPs elected from these districts should exert pressure for implementation”

“They should convince Railway Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee on announcements”

TIRUCHI: Even as the new United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime is gearing up to present the full-fledged Railway Budget on July 3, people of central districts are eagerly waiting to know the fate of various proposals on the introduction of new trains announced in the previous budgets which are yet to be implemented.

A cross section of people, consumer and voluntary organisations are of the view that the MPs elected from the central districts should exert pressure at least now for the implementation of these proposals for the benefit the travelling public.

The railways was operating at least five trains, both express and passenger, to Chennai from Tiruchi and Thanjavur on the mainline, before the closure of this section for broad gauge conversion works.

Now the travellers are left with the lone Kumbakonam – Chennai –Kumbakonam Rockfort Express.

Following repeated pleas the then Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav announced the introduction of a new overnight express train from Kumbakonam to Chennai via Tiruchi in the Railway Budget presented in 2005.

However, this proposal still remains only in the paper.

The railways had been citing paucity of compartments for the non-introduction of this train for the past five years, whereas many new trains were announced and introduced in different parts of the country in the successive railway budgets.

The Mayiladuturai – Mysore express was originally introduced between Mysore and Nagore.

With the closure of the track between Thanjavur and Nagore for the BG works, this train was operated from Mysore to Kumbakonam and later extended to Mayiladuturai.

Following pleas from devotees, Mr. Prasad announced the extension of the Bangalore – Salem passenger to Nagore in the 2008 Railway Budget. People expected the extension of this train via Tiruchi to take place immediately.

Severe shock

But they were in for a severe shock as the Time Table carried the information that the extension of this train will be done only after the completion of the BG works on the Vriddhachalam – Mayiladuturai and Mayiladuturai – Tiruvarur sections. This is likely to take many years, as BG conversion works in both these sections are yet to commence, says D. Kuberan of Nidamangalam, who regularly commutes in this section. .

In the interim Railway budget presented before the Lok Sabha elections, announcements were made on the introduction of a day time express train from Tiruchi to Madurai and the extension of the Tiruchi – Ernakulam express to Nagore.

The then Minister of State for Railways R. Velu also came out with the proposal of attaching two compartments from Nagore with the Rockfort Express.

The general public of these districts are sitting with their fingers crossed without knowing when these announcements will become a reality.

The ball is now in the court of the new MPs from the central districts, including three Union Ministers- G. K. Vasan, S. S. Palani Manickam and D. Napoleon, the people say. The president of the Tiruchi District Exnora, G. Subramanian says that the Central Ministers and the MPs should convince Railway Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee on the need to fulfil all the announcements made in the previous budget with immediate effect.