THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As railway divisions across the country begin preliminary discussions to furnish proposals for the next railway budget, the state government which can play a major role in getting things on track has not done anything yet.
The divisional railway manager offices ofThiruvananthapuram and Palakkad stated that preliminary discussions in view of railway budget proposal submissions had already commenced. "Rail infrastructure development is the need of the hour and not additional trains. If the government makes suggestions few weeks before the final submission, as it normally does, Kerala will fare badly in the coming year too," said railway passengers association general secretary P Krishnakumar.
"The state government's lethargy in land acquisition process is the main factor that prevents infrastructure development," said divisional railway manager offices of Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad. "August-September is the right time for the government to jointly work with respective divisional authorities to include its proposals in the railway budget. But such a practice has not been followed for the past many years and this is one major factor that ruins Kerala's prospect for a people-friendly railway budget," said Krishnakumar. "Doubling Ernakulam-Kayamkulam sector via Kottayam and Alappuzha, electrification of Shornur-Mangalore stretch, construction of Guruvayur-Thirunnavaya line, gauge conversion of Palakkad-Pollachi section and Punalur-Shengotta section, track doubling of Shornur-Karakkad section, introduction of automatic signaling system and laying two additional tracks exclusively for suburban service from Mangalore to Nagercoil are few of the projects that need immediate completion," Krishnakumar said.
"Last week, during a meeting of state MPs, railway was not even mentioned. Their proposal will weigh more than what RPAs submit. But MPs take action barely one week before the budget. This is why neighboring states score better than Kerala in the budget," said Mathew Paul, general secretary, all-Kerala RPA.
(George Adimathra, TNN | Aug 6, 2012, 05.15AM IST. Times of India dt 6-8-2012)