Dedicated freight corridor announced for South India

Dedicated freight corridor announced for South India

Dedicated freight corridor announced for South India

Union Minister for Railways Mamata Banerjee (centre) along with (from left) Union Minister of State for Railways K H Muniyappa, MP B Y Raghavendra and Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa flagging off Bangalore - Shimoga intercity express in Bangalore on Tuesday. (Right) The new train from Bangalore to Shimoga. dh photosThe Minister announced the bouquet of offerings at a function organised at the City railway station to flag off three inaugural specials, the Bangalore-Shimoga Intercity Express, Yeshwantpur-Mysore Express (by remote) and Yeshwantpur-Solapur Gol Gumbaz Express (by remote).

An automated signalling system at the City station and the renovated Tumkur and Dharmapuri railway stations were also declared open.

Without elaborating on the connecting points for the proposed freight corridor, Mamata said, “The Southern freight corridor would come up after the ongoing Western and Eastern freight corridors are completed.” Railway sources said that details on the corridor’s route are still being worked out. “The destinations which carry much freight will be identified and routes will be proposed to connect them,” said a top source in railways. The western corridor will link Delhi with Mumbai while the Eastern corridor will link New Delhi with Dankuni (near Kolkata).

“I am gifting to you a Doronto to connect Bangalore to Howrah,” the Railway Minister said. The statement took many by surprise since the existing demand was for the super-fast train between Bangalore and New Delhi. When questioned, Mamata said, “That (to Delhi) will happen in course of time.” The Railway minister had already announced 14 Duronto trains in her budget this year, four of which are operational.

Mamata said Railways planned to use the 1,13,000 acres of vacant land it owned.. “Talks are on with Automobile Hub Association to set up shop in these areas,” she said.  Shalimar in Howrah Division already has a hub. “Nine more hubs will be set up throughout the country including at Bangalore and Mangalore,” she announced. 

Mumbai train extended

The Minister also announced the extension of the Mumbai-Karwar Express to Mangalore. The extension of the trains promised in the railway budget, Bangalore-Hubli to Dharwad, Mysore-Tirupati Passenger to Chamarajnagar and Bangalore-Mangalore to Cannanore, will be implemented at the earliest, she assured.

Mamata also called for setting up rail links between industrial hubs and ports in the country on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.

B S Yeddyurappa promised that the State’s contribution towards Railway projects would be increased from the existing Rs 243 crore to Rs 600 crore next year. He also promised that a report on feasibility of setting up projects on PPP basis will be submitted to the Railways by January 2010.

I love Kannada: Mamata

Union Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee drew instant applause from the huge crowd by conveying her greetings in heavily Bengali-accented Kannada.

The programme, which commenced with a Kannada religious hymn, was followed by a Bengali song. The move, clearly intended to appease the Railways Minister, received derisive remarks and sarcastic grins from the gathering. However, Mamata compensated for it all with her attempt at speaking Kannada. Giving an assurance for setting up a ‘kalyana mantap’ for employees of the Rail Wheel Factory at Yelahanka, she struggled to pronounce the word. She stopped in embarrassment when her grappling with the word turned out to be ‘kollu..kollu...kolluyaa’.

Mamata then remarked that the aim of language was only to communicate. “I love the language of Karnataka. See, without anyone teaching me I heard others speak and learnt to greet you in Kannada.”