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Rail budget a mixed bag: ICCI President

R. Yegya Narayanan
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R.R. Balasundharam, President, Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
THE HINDU R.R. Balasundharam, President, Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Railway budget, while it has some positive features for Tamil Nadu, has failed to meet some of the long pending demands of the people of the Coimbatore region, according to the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Coimbatore.

It has also voiced the fear that linking freight rates to the fuel price would lead to frequent recalibration of rates, affecting the industries.

In a release, R.R. Balasundharam, President, ICCI, hailed as ‘positive’ announcements relating to the introduction of several new trains in Tamil Nadu, including the Coimbatore-Mannargudi Express, the Coimbatore-Rameswaram Express, the Mangalore-Hyderabad Express via Renigunta and Coimbatore and the Visakhapatnam-Kollam Express via Coimbatore.

He said though there was no increase in passenger fares, the hike in other charges for super-fast trains, cancellation charges and Tatkal charges would cast a burden on the travelling public.

Balasundharam, however, regretted that the Minister had failed to concede the long-pending demand for the introduction of an overnight express train between Coimbatore and Bangalore. There were also no major investments in the State, other than the skill development project at Tiruchi.

He feared that the 5 per cent increase in freight charges would push up transport costs for industries, especially in Coimbatore, that were already reeling under the impact of severe power cuts.

He also said though it was mentioned in the last railway budget that a rail coach factory at Palakkad would come up, work was yet to commence. Formation of the coach factory would give a boost to the establishment of new ancillary units in Coimbatore. He also wanted gauge conversion work between Coimbatore and Pollachi to be hastened as it would enable exporters here to send their goods through Thoothukudi Port.

(This article was published on February 27, 2013)
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