TAMIL NADU

Salem-Mettur service likely by January

METTUR Nov. 10. The Minister of State for Railways, A. K. Moorthy, said the Salem— Mettur train service would be resumed before January, 2003.

Speaking to presspersons here today, Mr. Moorthy said the service was withdrawn about 12 years ago forcing students, officials and businessmen to depend on buses.

The Minister, accompanied by the Divisional Railway Manager, Amarnath, and the Salem Station Manager, K. Sridhar, inspected Omalur and Mettur stations to study the suitability for resumption of service.

The Salem-Mettur train service was suspended on August 10, 1990 when electric traction work was taken up. The service was not resumed even after the traction was laid. It took about one hour and 40 minutes to cover the distance, with halts at Omalur and Mecheri. The service was not popular then.

The new service would be run with an electric engine cutting the running time. According to officials, the service would be feasible if it was started from Mettur.

Mr. Moorthy said the Southern Railway had prepared a plan for construction of an overbridge at the Omalur railway gate, at a cost of Rs. 11 crores. The Centre had sanctioned Rs. 5 crores, and it was awaiting the State Government to complete the tender formalities.

Bangalore-Salem passenger

Our Dharmapuri Staff Reporter reports: A fast passenger from Bangalore to Salem via Hosur and Dharmapuri would be introduced by January, Mr. Moorthy said.

Speaking to reporters at Dharmapuri after inspecting the railway station, he said it was being assessed to introduce a train leaving Salem at 6 a.m and reach Bangalore at 10 a.m. On the return direction, it would leave Bangalore at 5 p.m and reach Salem at 10.30 p.m.

On introduction of a direct service between Chennai and Dharmapuri, the Minister said a feasibility survey for laying a track between Morappur and Dharmapuri would be taken up.

When reporters pointed out that the Bangalore-Salem train was being used to smuggle arrack and IMFL from Bangalore, the Minister summoned the police.

But they claimed only 11 such cases were booked and with just 4 personnel they were unable to do justice to the 155 km stretch.

Earlier, Mr. Moorthy arrived by a special train at Morappur, flagged off the Inter-city Express there.

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