Mangaluru, Nov 17, 2015: Addressing a gathering after laying the foundation stone for Ramakrishna Hegde Institute of Skill Development promoted by the railways at Udupi on Nov 16, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Monday that Udupi railway station would get an escalator probably within two weeks. It would he said be of great benefit to all, especially the aged and women.
He said the railways began track doubling and electrification of Konkan railway route a week ago. “Though Konkan Railway was not planned with a view to make it a double track, the railway ministry has taken it up as a challenge.”
According to an official, 741 km-long Konkan track between Roha in Maharashtra and Thokur (near Surathkal) would be doubled and electrified at an estimated cost of Rs. 10,600 crore. Minister Prabhu laid the foundation stone for the works on November 8. In the first phase, the 42 km stretch between Roha and Veer stations in Maharasthra would be doubled. Works of doubling other stretches would be taken up in phases.
A proposal to double the 115 km-long stretch between Thokur and Baindoor is now before the Railway Board.
Minister Prabhu said the government would invest Rs. 8.5 lakh crore for railway infrastructure development in the next five years. It included doubling of tracks across states. Though there was no money available for taking up the doubling projects, he ensured that Rs. 1.5 lakh crore was borrowed from the LIC with low interest rate for 30 years. “A phenomenal doubling, tripling, quadrupling of the tracks will be completed in the three to five years,” he said.
About the institute which would come up at an estimated cost of Rs. 10 crore in Udupi, he said it would be completed in a year. It would enhance the skills of thousands of railway employees across the country through different courses and methods.
The Minister said that railways have taken up a major electrification programme covering 10,000 km of distance in the next 10 years in the country. Claiming that much has been achieved in maintaining cleanliness in railway stations, the Minister said that e-catering facility had made it possible for passengers to get food of their choice.