CRB directs Southern Railway to commence preparatory works for completing projects on priority

Taking exception to the inordinate delay in completing projects, the Railway Board Chairman has directed Southern Railway to commence preparatory works.

CHENNAI: Taking exception to the inordinate delay in completing projects, the Railway Board Chairman has directed Southern Railway to commence preparatory works for completing the ongoing projects for 2018-19 as per schedule fixed by the board. According to an official communication sent to Southern Railway General Manager Kulshreshta, the Railway Board has targeted completion of 10 railway projects in Tamil Nadu for the current financial year, which run for about 219.71 kms. The works includes doubling with electrification, gauge conversion and new lines.

Despite being sixth most populous State in the country and one of the highest passenger revenue-generating States, Tamil Nadu has only 46 per cent of electrified tracks in its total length.According to the report submitted by the Ministry of Railways in Parliament, as on April 1, 2017, a total of 4027-km-long track runs through the State, out of which 1,851 kms has been electrified. It is expected that completion of ongoing projects as per the target would boost the rail network in Chennai, central and southern parts of Tamil Nadu.

“The 50-km gauge conversion between Pattukottai and Tiruturaipundi is scheduled to be completed by August, while gauge conversion works on the 26-km Tiruturaipundi-Thiruvarur stretch has a September deadline,” said the directive issued by Railway Board chairman Ashwini Lohani. The 76-km Thiruvarur-Pattukottai section was part of the 187-km Mayiladuturai-Thiruvarur-Tiruturaipundi-Pattukottai- Karaikudi section. After a prolonged delay, the 75-km Pattukottai-Karaikudi section was opened for traffic a few months ago.

The Railway Board has also stipulated time till February 2019 for completing the 36-km branch line which runs from Tiruturaipundi to Agastiyampalli.In the current financial year, Railways is also planning to commission a 37-km line between Madurai and Usilampatti as part of the 90-km Madurai-Bodinayakkanur gauge conversion works. The Madurai-Bodi metre gauge line was dismantled for conversion in 2010. Since then, Theni has lost train connectivity to other parts of the country.

“The Madurai-Usilampatti-Andipatti-Theni-Bodi section is targeted to be completed by 2020. The Madurai-Usilampatti portion is likely to be completed by February next,” said official sources.

While calling for meticulous planning in respect to preparatory works such as approval of plans, arrangement of materials and fixing of executive agencies, the Railway Board chairman directed SR to prepare timeline for the project at least three months before the scheduled date.
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