Velu rules out formation of new railway zone in Kerala

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Ariyalur, Sep 22 (UNI) Union Minister of State for Railways R Velu today reiterated that there was no question of forming a new railway zone in Kerala.

Addressing newspersons here, after inspecting the ongoing developmental works, Mr Velu said Union Railway Minister Lalu Prasad himself had conveyed this to the delegation from Kerala led by Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan.

Mr Velu said the controversy over the formation of Salem division was based only on workload, proximity, accessibility, administrative and operative reasons and not due to any regional or ethnic reasons.

On the ongoing protest against submission of 79 km, consisting of Pollachi and Kinathukadavu in Coimbatore district to Palakkad division, he said such agitations were unwarranted as the undivided Palakkad division had 1,132 km under its jurisdiction.

After the formation of Salem division, it would have 622 km. So to compensate the Palakkad division, 79 km of Coimbatore district was given to Palakkad division, he added.

To a question, he said the Union Planning Commission had once again turned down the Southern Railway's proposal for doubling and electrification of railway line between Villpuram and Dindigul, a distance of 273 km, at an estimated cost of Rs 822 crore saying that it would not be economicaly viable.

He said a delegation of MPs from Tamil Nadu was planning to meet the Union Planing Commission authorities to impress upon the importance of the project.

The Chief Security Commissioner of Railways had already inspected the newly converted broad gauge line between Vridhachalam and Salem and after obtaining the report from him, the train services would be commissioned on this sector within a month, he added.

He said the ongoing gauge conversion work between Mayiladuthurai and Villupuram was expected to be completed by March next.

UNI

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