The project of developing the old railway station (Ernakulam railway goodsERG) near the high court received another jolt as people's representatives from Ernakulam demanded the rehabilitation of encroachers along the Edappally-ERG track, a new bridge at Pachalam and conservation of Mangalavanam before beginning any service along the stretch.
At a high-level meeting convened here on Tuesday , Ernakulam MLA Hibi Eden and mayor Soumini Jain told top railway officials from Thiruvananthapuram railway division that a new bridge must be constructed at Pachalam before the service linking ERG is restarted. “Apart from constructing the bridge, the people who stay along the railway track are to be rehabilitated and Mangalavanam should be preserved,“ said Eden, whose demands were seconded by the mayor.
Earlier, Jain had promised railway authorities that the local body will take steps to rehabilitate encroachers if the railways was ready to start the service. Senior officials from Thiruvananthapuram railway division said that the service will be a major development component for the district. “A terminal is a must, if more trains are to be introduced to decongest the mainline,“ said divisional railway manager of Thiruvananthapuram Prakash Bhutani.
Officials also made it clear that they would be launching only two services connecting ERG one each in the morning and evening hours in the first stage during which bridge construction was not feasible. Also, railway authorities pointed out that a petition against the railways related to preserving Mangalavanam has already been quashed by National green tribunal (NGT).
At the same time, the Cochin port trust (CPT) authorities have offered to handover the land required to construct an over bridge at Vathuruthy, provided they are offered a plot at Ramanthuruthu in return. Eden added that the state government will be apprised of the developments at the earliest.
Meanwhile, railway officials agreed (in principle) to a demand raised by Eden: arranging walking space for residents of Ravipuram and Pachalam who stay close to the railway tracks. Railway officials assured that they would peruse the demand put forwarded by MLA PT Thomas: a halt-station at Ponnurunni.
Jain wanted the railways to build a road parallel to the tracks from Ernakulam North to Ernakulam South stations for which the corporation was ready to carry out a survey.
(Times of India Kochi dt 17-8-2016)