Mangaluru, Feb 25, 2016 : With Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu ignoring announcement of new trains in the Railway Budget, people from coastal Karnataka expect that he will hasten the infrastructure projects in the region and introduce trains that had already been announced. People hope that infrastructure projects in the region will be speeded up.
Though the demand for creation of a separate Railway Division in Mangaluru or at least bringing the Mangaluru Region either under South Western Railway or Konkan Railway is still very active, people do not have many hopes on the demand as Rail Manthri Prabhu is concentrating on downsizing the hierarchy in the Railways.
Following the National Green Tribunal’s nod for the Railways to commence the preliminary works for the Ankola-Hubballi new line, people expect that the Ministry will make a swift move to present the demand for required forest land before the State government.
The government, in consultation with the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, has to issue clearance for providing over 900 hectares of forest land for the project. If the project comes through, it will open more traffic between the coast and the hinterlands thereby boosting the economy of both the regions.
At the same time, people expect that the budget will address infrastructure requirements in Mangaluru Central Railway Station. G. Hanumanth Kamath of the Paschima Karavali Rail Yatri Abhivriddhi Sangha said that two additional platforms at the station and doubling of the line between the station and the Netravathi cabin were the need of the hour.
The Ministry should also hasten the process of building a world-class station at Central, and not at Mangaluru Junction, he said. The Mangaluru-Miraj Mahalakshmi Express, which was cancelled to facilitate the conversion of Mangaluru-Hassan meter gauge line into broad gauge should be reintroduced. The train would offer connectivity to northern parts of Karnataka from Mangaluru, Kamath said.
Besides, the Mangaluru Junction-Mumbai CST-Mangaluru Junction Express should be extended to Mangaluru Central, as originally planned.
It was curtailed at Mangaluru Junctio bowing to the pressure of the Kerala lobby to introduce more trains towards Kerala from Mangaluru Central, he alleged. Also, the less-patronised Mangaluru Central-Madgaon-Mangaluru Central Intercity Express should be extended to Mumbai, to start with as a tri-weekly.