A step towards materialising Mangalore railway division

A step towards materialising Mangalore railway division

Though no railway division status was accorded to Mangalore in the railway budget as against the overwhelming expectations, the sources in railways said that the proposals announced in the budget is a right step towards materialising the long -pending demand.

The track doubling of Surathkal-Mangalore-Ullal and the announcement of the Byndoor-Kasargod passenger service are an attempt to bring out Mangalore from the grip of Palakkad division and carving a division on its own, highly placed source in Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) told Deccan Herald. 

Added to this is the fact that Southern railway's demand for allocating funds for several ongoing projects in Mangalore side has been overlooked. Most importantly, the KRCL has given green signal to streamline their operations in Mangalore following which the corporation has opened a full-time Public Relations Office just one week before the presentation of budget.
 "With regard to according status to Mangalore division, the present budget has set a ground for the same. Sooner or later, it will be a part of the KRCL" said the source.  A first of its kind, commencing or terminating a service from Kasargod, an ill-equipped station in terms of infrastructure is also been treated in this regard. "It is a deliberate attempt to make the passenger as Mangalore's own as there are lot of grievances that most of the services introduced through the port city are benefiting to Kerala," the regional level officer observed.

The fact that no new zones or divisions were announced in the budget and the priority of putting railway in sound financial condition could have been hampered Mangalore's cause, said a former Palakkad divisional manager. "Normally, if a new division is carved out of an existing one, some sort of compensation in the form of new line or projects should be announced. The outlaying of sufficient funds for Kanjikode rail factory in Palakkad has been regarded as the compensation here," he observed.

 The zero fund allocation for Shornur-Mangalore electrification and the meager outlay of Rs five crore for Kozhikode-Mangalore track doubling also strengthens the stand that Union Railway ministry is no longer interested in keeping Mangalore under Palakkad division. 

 Though Union Railway Minister D V Sadananda Gowda has included the project of Kanjangad (Kerala)-Kaniyur (Karnataka) line for survey in his maiden budget, confusion is prevailing over the same. The traffic survey for the first phase of the project, Kanjangad-Panathur (41 km) has already been completed in 2009 and a report has been pending before the railway board. What the inter-state action committee working for the realisation of the project has been demanding was to conduct survey for the second phase, Panathur-Kaniyur (30 km) and allocation of fund for the first phase.

 "There is a confusion regarding the announcement. No body has clarification over whether railway has announced a fresh survey of the entire route or for the second phase only," told Jose Kochukunnel, a member of the committee. The action committee has decided to meet the minister on this issue.

 In 2009, then Southern Railway deputy chief operations Manager, Rathi R Raju had completed the traffic survey and found that the route is financially viable and profitable. In the survey, the cost benefit ratio of the proposed line was found to be 2.68. If the cost benefit ratio is above one, then it has been considered as a profitable venture. 

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