Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Oscar Fernandes has urged Union Minister for Railways Mallikarjuna Kharge to establish Mangalore Division.
In a letter to the Minister dated February 10, he said that the establishment of Mangalore division will provide more facilities and benefits to the passengers and good traffic and will boost the economic social development of Mangalore as well as the entire West Coast. The establishment of Mangalore division will bring together the existing area of Mangalore Central, Mangalore Junction and New Mangalore Port and Konkan Railway jurisdiction.
Oscar said that the Railway Board in its letter dated November 24, 1991 had fixed the jurisdiction of Konkan Railway with the Southern Railways on Mangalore side of Mangalore Junction. However, later, it was decided that the jurisdiction of Konkan Railway will be upto Thokur.
“People in Mangalore are against the Palakkad division for neglecting the demands including more trains and better passenger amenities and infrastructure to Mangalore. As a result, Mangalore has been deprived of better connectivity with the rest of India, inspite of the Konkan railway line. The extension of Mumbai-Mangalore train from Mangalore Junction to Mangalore Central, proposed DMU service between Thokur and Bhatkal to be extended to Mangalore Central, introduction of new trains from Mangalore to east, west and north part of India has not been fulfilled. People have been demanding that Mangalore will get due benefit only with the establishment of Mangalore division,” Oscar said in the letter.
He said that at present, Mangalore is connected with two nearest divisions namely Palakkad to the south, which is 351 km away and Hubli to the north which is also 351 km away. Inspite of Konkan railway line passing through the region, only one train is originating from Mangalore Central to Mumbai. There is no single train connecting Mangalore to the east, west or northern parts of Inda. At the same time, Ro-Ro service introduced by the Konkan railways can be extended to Mangalore from Surathkal if Mangalore division is set up.
On the other hand, MP Jayaprakash Hegde in a separate letter to Kharge has urged to separate Mangalore Central, Mangalore Junction and Panambur from Southern Railway and attach it to Konkan railway jurisdiction as per earlier Railway Bord order.
“With the exclusion of Mangalore-Thokur section under Konkan Railway, the accumulated loss of Konkan Railways as on March 31, 2013 is Rs 3,158 crore. At present, on an average, 54 trains run everyday on a single line of Konkan railway. The track utilisation rate has already reached 160 per cent in between Madgaon and Mumbai. The section of Konkan Railway is already saturated and there is no possibility of introduction of additional train service on the route without taking up patch doubling, increasing number of stations.
The fuel bill is presently amounts to Rs 200 crore annually. If railway line is electrified, then the fuel bill can be reduced to Rs 100 crore. Therefore, doubling and electrification of Konkan Railway line is imperative. The financial restructuring of KRCL will not help the corporation to become financially productive. The corporation on part with other zonal railways should have passenger coaching terminal facility and port handling facility in its jurisdiction for its growth in the long run,” the letter said.