With the railway network being under-developed in coastal Karnataka, there is a need for a West Coast Zone or, at the least, a Mangalore Division of the Indian Railways, a meeting of railway enthusiasts and the Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) decided here on Wednesday.
The meeting was held by KCCI and Railway Yatri Sangha, Udupi and involved activists and commuters, to identify problems and chalk out solutions for better rail connectivity. The eight-point resolution would be carried forward by the KCCI and members who represent the region in the Railway Users Consultative Committees at the Divisional level (DRUCC) of Palakkad divisions and Konkan Railways (scheduled for September 20 in Mumbai).
Chairperson of the KCCI Sub-committee on Railways G.G. Mohandas Prabhu said that as 75 per cent of Palakkad division’s revenue came from goods movement from the New Mangalore Port, the division hesitated to form a new division for Mangalore.
He proposed that the Mangalore, Palakkad and Trivandrum divisions should be clubbed under the West Coast Zone of the Railways, and be based here.
Another resolution that received much support was the improvement of the connectivity of the port city with the state capital.
Presenting his survey of the Nandikur to Moodigere railway line, via Karkala and Ujire (Charmadi Ghats), president of the Sangha R.L. Dias, said the line will provide an alternative to the problem-ridden Mangalore-Bangalore line via Sakleshpur.
“Most of the land in Charmadi is under private ownership, though the British had already built a road through some sections of the Ghats. Only around four tunnels are needed on this line to assuage environmental concerns…With trains now taking 2.5 hours to traverse 55 kms of Sakleshpur ghats, this alternative line would boost rail connectivity to the capital,” he said.
He also demanded an additional express train on the Sakeshpur line.
Among the other resolutions of the meeting was to introduce a Vasco-Da-Gama passenger train to Mangalore, additional stops on the Mangalore-Madgaon train, making the tri-weekly Yesvanthpur-Karwar train a daily train, and the extension of the Bhatkal-Thokur DEMU (Diesel-electric Multiple Unit) train to Karwar.