Mangaluru, Nov 29, 2016: As the city is gearing up to lauch it’s ’Smart city’ tag, development of Mangaluru Central or Mangaluru Junction railway stations into World Class stations is yet to take definite shape, the Southern Railway is working on a concrete proposal to develop Mangaluru Central into international standards.
The proposal follows an assurance by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu to develop all A1 and A category railway stations into international standards. Upgrading Chennai Central and Kozhikode Stations of Southern Railway is already in an advanced stage, said A.K. Sinha, Chief Planning and Development Engineer, Southern Railway, Chennai.
The Kukke Shree Subrahmanya-Mangalore Railway Commuters Forum, Puttur, had recently petitioned Minister Prabhu, among other things, about the improvement of Mangaluru Central and Mangaluru Junction railway stations. In reply to the letter, Sinha told Sudarshan Puttur, organiser of the forum, that Mangaluru Central, an A1 category station, would be developed as promised by the Minister.
Sinha also told media that preliminary plan for developing Mangaluru Central is ready while the detailed proposal would get ready in about six months, by which time the Railways would invite tenders for development. The private partner would develop the station on build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis with a lease period for 45 years, he said.
The detailed proposal would be made keeping in mind the future growth of the city for the next four decades. While the developer would be offered a parcel of surplus railway land for commercial exploitation, he would be required to develop the existing railway station to international standards and operate the station too. The Railways’ role would be limited to operating trains from such stations.
It would also be in line with the Union Urban Development Ministry’s initiative to be in sync with the smart city project since Mangaluru is chosen to be one of the smart cities, Sinha said. The station would have waste water recycling, rainwater harvesting and solar energy harnessing facilities too. Right now, the Railways is working on identifying land that could be handed over to the private player and also finalising other modalities. He hoped that unlike the World Class station proposal which did not reach any logical end, the proposal to develop all A1 and A category stations should succeed. Work on improving Mangaluru Junction, which is an A category station, would be taken up seriously.
More amenities at Central :
Notwithstanding the Railways’ proposal to develop Mangaluru Central Railway Station into international standards, the Southern Railway would improve the facilities at the station by providing more amenities. Divisional Railway Manager of Palakkad Division Naresh Lalwani said that work on the second entry at the Attavar side should start soon. Provision for vehicle parking and ticket issuing counters would be made there, leaving sufficient surplus land for development under the public-private participation at a later stage when the proposal takes the final shape.
While the sanctioned line-doubling work between Netravathi Cabin and Mangaluru Central could only start next year, the division is re-sending a proposal to the Railway Board to have at least one additional platform at the station. The plan is to get one platform and one pitline at Mangaluru Central at a cost of about Rs. 6 crore.
Yeshwantpur-Karwar Tri-Weekly Express : The Yeshwantpur-Karwar Tri-Weekly Express would be cancelled between Mangaluru Junction and Karwar since the train has less than 20 per cent occupancy, limiting its operation between Yeshwantpur and Mangaluru Junction. Konkan Railway Corporation (KRCL), which handles the train between Mangaluru and Karwar and the South Western Railway (SWR), which owns the train, have sent proposals to the Railway Board.
KRCL’s Chief Public Relations Officer L.K. Verma told The Hindu that the issue was discussed in the recent KRCL’s Users Consultative Committee meeting. Since the train had less than 20 per cent occupancy, it was recommended to cancel the train between Mangaluru Junction and Karwar, he said.