From being the force behind the proposed suburban rail corridor between Thiruvananthapuram and Chengannur to the commissioning of ventures like MEMU shed in Kollam, Rajesh Agarwal, outgoing Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) of Thiruvananthapuram Division, has been instrumental in introducing a slew of innovative projects in the division in the past two years. For this, he was also given the recognition from the Southern Railways as the Best Divisional Railway Manager last year.
Agarwal will hand over the charge of DRM to Sunil Bajpai on Monday. His brainchild, the proposed suburban rail corridor, is considered to be among the state’s most prestigious projects.
Apart from ensuring 100 per cent punctuality of trains operating in the division, the Divisional Manager from Uttar Pradesh, who joined the railway service in 1982, introduced 25 passenger trains, including MEMU services, in the division during his tenure as the DRM.
He also enabled Kerala to achieve the coveted status of state with zero unmanned level crossings in November this year. Thirty escalators and 15 lifts will soon be commissioned in the coming months across major stations in the state.
Agarwal said if all goes well, Kerala will be the only state in the country to boast of escalators and lifts at major stations. The DRM was able to open Kochuveli maintenance depot at a time when Nemom and Kanyakumari depots remain distant dreams. The Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) shed in Kollam, which was completed last year, was commissioned last month.
With the commissioning of the shed, the railways is able to operate MEMU services in the division everyday, without having to haul it to Palakkad for maintenance.
Also, the railways has been able to introduce passenger reservation system (PRS) counters in even remote areas in the state.
Agarwal said the railways is also making an effort to increase the number of counters in railway stations if the ticket demand rises to 20,000 per day. About the possibility of development of Vallarpadam Container Terminal, he said the terminal has huge potential and with the help of stakeholders, it would be possible to operate at least six freights from the station in the coming years.
Perks for Kochi
Under his tenure, a slew of developmental activities were initiated at Ernakulam Junction station, such as the commissioning of two escalators, setting up of a new parcel office, clearing up of the entrance area and the steady development of the eastern entry of the station.
Also through the DRM’s guidance, the railways has been able to revive the movement of freight traffic to Cochin Harbour Terminus.