'Wagons' of hopes for Kolar

Union Minister of State for Railways K H Muniyappa visited Bangarpet by the Marikuppam Express from Bangalore recently, to inquire about the needs of travellers.DH file photo

The Railway Minister’s announcement to set up the country’s third railway coach factory at Kolar, made in the Railway budget presented on Friday, has brought joy to the people of the parched district.

The prestigious project will be the biggest industrial undertaking in the district known for high milk and silk production, now that the famed gold mines in KGF are closed down.

No connectivity

But the joy at having a coach factory is leavened with the disappointment at having no rail connectivity. Just one train operates between Kolar and Bangalore. The train leaves Kolar Railway Station which most of the times wears a deserted look at 7.15 am and reaches Bangalore Cantonment Station.

It is worth noting that there is no train service till City Railway Station in Bangalore. Most of the passengers are forced to take other travel means to reach the destination. In return, the same train leaves Cantonment Station at 5.55 pm in the evening and reaches Kolar around 8.15 pm in the night.

Long wait

The decision to establish a wagon factory has come at a time when an agitation demanding proper rail service between Kolar and Bangalore has remained unfulfilled for 30 years.

However, the announcement of express train service between Kolar and Bangalore, sanctioning of funds for laying of tracks between Kolar and Whitefield and new train service between Bangalore and Bangarpet may yet fulfil the long-cherished dreams of the people.

Local representative

For these gifts, the district has to be thankful to Union Minister of State for Railways K H Muniyappa who is also the Member of Parliament from the region.

The wagon factory which will be set either on PPP model or on Joint partnership basis has already generated lot hopes as railway infrastructure will be developed in the district creating jobs for thousands of unemployed youth.

Origin

The first railway coach factory, East India Railway Carriage and Wagon Division was established by company in 1855. However, the Division was closed down in 1900.

The second  factory, Integral Coach Factory (ICF) was set up at Perambur near Chennai in 1952. The third was established at Kapurthala in Punjab in 1986 by then Prime Minister Late Rajiv Gandhi.

The fourth was set up at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh. The first phase of work was completed on May 26, 2010.

The work on the second phase is yet to commence and work is expected to be completed by 2013.

As such, the factory in Kolar, if and when it comes up, will be third in the country.

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