Logistics

New trains to start operating before March 2012: Minister

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on March 01, 2011 Published on March 01, 2011

Urging State for land transfer: The Minister of State for Railways, Mr K.H. Muniyappa, addressing a press conference at Thiruvananthapuram railway division headquarters here on Tuesday. The General Manager, Southern Railway, Mr Deepak Krishnan, is also seen. — Photo: C. Ratheesh Kumar

All new trains announced in the Union Railway Budget would start operating in the State before March 2012, according to the Union Minister of State for Railways, Mr K. H. Muniyappa. This includes the mainline electric multiple units (Memu), he said while speaking to newspersons here on Tuesday.

LAND NOT AVAILABLE

The Minister, however, urged the State Government to expedite the transfer of land required for various projects allotted for the State.

He cited the cases of the proposed coach factory at Palakkad, the wagon components unit at Cherthala and the Railway medical college.

“Our humble request to the State Government would be to speed up processing so that the Railways could take up work on these projects as well as track doubling,” the Minister said while elaborating on the allocation of Rs 480 crore for the State. The unseemly delay in getting a move with the Palakkad coach factory is a matter of concern, he said.

MEDICAL COLLEGE

“No land has been made available to us,” is all what the Minister would say when asked if the public-private partnership model being proposed was proving a hurdle.

The railway medical college project was to be implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, of which the first would come up at Chennai.

A similar project has been announced for Pettah near here, but has been held up due to non-availability of the required land of 25 acres.

Land blues have also come in the way of development of world-class stations proposed in Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Kozhikode.

HUGE INVESTMENTS

Adequate land would need to be made available at these places since the project entailed huge investments and on a public-private partnership model.

The Minister said that States such as Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have already come forward with offers of providing land for similar projects.

Mr Muniyappa denied the allegation that the State was discriminated against in the sanctioning of new projects.

Decisions on new projects are taken on the basis of projected traffic demand and other developmental needs of a particular region.

PASSENGER FARES

The Minister said that the UPA Government was concerned about the well-being of the common man, which explains the status-quo maintained with regard to passenger fares for over the last eight years.

The allocations to the State have also gone up from Rs 234 crore in 2010-11 to Rs 480 crore in 2011-12.

NEW TRAINS

Fourteen new trains, extension of one, and increase in frequency of yet another, have been announced in the Budget.

“But we need land for laying new tracks or doubling of existing ones to accommodate these services,” the Minister said.

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Published on March 01, 2011
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