Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Monday, Jul 26, 2004
Kakinada-Kotipalli rail line evokes memories
Kakinada , July 25
THE rediscovery of Kakinada-Kotipalli railway line after a gap of 64 years means many things to many people in this fertile but slightly secluded stretches of East Godavari district.
While it evokes childhood memories filled with nightmares of World War II in some, the farming community and business people hope to cash in on the improved logistics to carry things at cheaper rates, boosting the local economy.
Mr Rammurthy, 83, of Kovvada, is a happy man, seeing railway labour working on the track 200 yards away from his house to keep the rails on the track. "I was five when they laid the track in 1928. We used to play on the track and go on errands," he told Business Line.
He is so ecstatic that he cut short his lunch to go down memory lane. "The line was there for one or two years before the bombing (World War II) began in 1940. One day they (the British) said they were taking back the rails as they needed steel," he says.
Mr A. Kasi Viswanadham, Director of the Cocanada Chamber of Commerce, says the project, when completed, would mean a lot for the agri-business in the area. "People still call part of the Port area as CC (Coconut) Siding which used to handle the coconut business. There used to be good activity on the coconut front 15 years ago," he says.
The main problem, according to him, is lack of quality wagons. This results in businessmen banking on lorries, a costlier proposition. What he feels is that restoration of the line would help people to send the produce to far off places using railway rakes.
The Chamber observes that there would good potential for mango, banana and coconut exports from the area.
However, Mr G. Venkata Rao, 67, who also could recall the memories of the earlier train service, has a different opinion on the restoration of the line. "See, this line is terminating at one mile away from the village. Who will come all the way to catch a train, spending at least Rs 10 on auto-rikshaws," he wonders.
He says the new line would be of any use only when it traverses the Godavari (means its three tributaries Guatami, Vynateya and Vaishnavi) to connect Narsapur.
The railway officials have already submitted a detailed project report to take up the Kotipalli-Narsapur stretch that is estimated to cost Rs 700 crore.
There is another community that is equally elated is children along the 50-km stretch, covering 11 stations.
The whole strength of a local Government school cheered on the high-level railway team that visited the upcoming Kovvada station to inspect the works.
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