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Ahamed seeks land for doubling works

Staff Reporter



E. Ahamed says land acquisition is a major obstacle to the proposed Sabari rail project.

KOCHI: The State government must hasten land acquisition for track-doubling works since Kerala needs more inter-State and intra-State trains to cater to the demand from passengers, said Union Minister of State for Railways E. Ahamed here on Saturday.

He was speaking after flagging off the inaugural run of the Ernakulam-Pune biweekly superfast train (train no. 2519/2520).

He said 76 more hectares of land was required for doubling in the Ernakulam-Kayamkulam sector. Experts had said that Kerala could not do without double lanes since dozens of goods trains bearing containers from the international container transhipment terminal coming up at Vallarpadam would soon begin service.

“Land acquisition is a major obstacle for the Sabari rail project too and we are slowly overcoming obstacles to kick-start the work. The delay has resulted in the project cost going up from Rs.540 crore to Rs.1,160 crore. Few people are willing to hand over land for the Guruvayur-Tirunavaya line either. We will provide funds and the State government must speed up the land-acquisition process,” Mr. Ahamed said.

He cited the shortage of coaches as another reason for not beginning five trains that were announced in the last Railway Budget.He said the State government had laid some pre-conditions for the proposed coach factory in Palakkad.

Union Minister of State for Agriculture K.V. Thomas sought the introduction of an Ernakulam-Bangalore Duronto Express since a shortage of trains on the route was forcing passengers to take buses.

Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Railways Minister M. Vijayakumar called for a time-bound action plan to develop the State's railway network. “For this, the existing lines have to be doubled, electrified and suburban services launched. Commuters prefer trains because of increasing congestion on the roads,” Mr. Vijayakumar said.

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