BG project work in TN to be over by Dec: Velu

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Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, Aug 10 (UNI) Minister of State for Railways R Velu today said the Rs 270-crore broad gauge (BG) conversion project between the 122 km stretch of Villupuram and Mayiladuthrai will be completed by November-December and the train services will begin in January.

Speaking to reporters here after inspecting the guage conversion works, Mr Velu said only 35 per cent of the work was pending.

He praised the private company executing a major portion of the work for keeping the costs frozen despite hike in the prices of steel and cement and said he had asked the company to expedite the work on the project.' Mr Velu also informed the Planning Commission had cleared five BG conversion works in Tamil Nadu and the Railways had written to the Tamil Nadu Government on funding of the work.

The Minister said the Railways was prepared to take up projects which would be funded by the State Governments to the extent of 50 per cent.

On the recent fire mishap in the Gautami Express which claimed more than 30 lives, Mr Velu called for greater awareness among passengers to prevent such incidents.

He said cooking and smoking by passengers and short circuits caused by anti-socials led to such incidents and people should be more alert and aware to avoid such disasters.

The Inquiry Commission will soon submit its report on the mishap, he said and added in future the Railways will use steel coaches which were fire resistant.

UNI XR-GM RL RN1845

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