MADURAI: Railway users have welcomed the approval given by the cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) for electrification-cum-doubling works between Madurai-Kanyakumari-Thiruvananthapuram and urged the railway ministry to complete the works without any delay.
According to a statement from railways, the CCEA chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had approved the construction of double line with electrification between Thiruvananthapuram-Kanyakumari, Madurai-Vanchi Maniyachi, Vanchi Maniyachi-Turicorin and Vanchi Maniyachi-Nagercoil via Tirunelveli. The projects are likely to be completed in four years by 2020 – 21.
The total length of Thiruvananthapuram-Kanyakumari line is 86.56 km. The estimated cost of the project will be Rs.1431.90 crore and completion cost Rs.1552.94 crore with 5% escalation per annum. The total length of Madurai – Vanchi Maniyachi, Vanchi Maniyachi-Tuticorin lines will be 160 kms. The estimated cost of the project will be Rs 1,182.31 crore and completion cost Rs.1,272.51 crore with 5% escalation per annum. The total length of Vanchi Maniyachi-Nagercoil via Tirunelveli line will be 102 km. The estimated cost of the project will be Rs.1,003.94 crore and completion cost Rs.1,114.62 crore with 5% escalation per annum.
Kanyakumari District Rail Users Association (KKDRUA) observed that the line from Chennai to Kanyakumari was like a backbone of the state from which other railway lines were branching out. After so much of persuasion, Chennai- Madurai line was going to be doubled and Madurai- Kanyakumari yet to be doubled. With the existing single line, not many trains could be operated from southern Tamil Nadu to Chennai in spite of repeated demands from rail users of the region, the association observed.
President of KKDRUA, S R Sriram said that doubling of Madurai- Kanyakumari was a long pending dream of people of southern Tamil Nadu. He expressed his gratitude to Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan for making efforts for the materialisation of the project. President of Tamil Nadu Foodgrains Merchants Association Limited and former member of Madurai Divisional Rail User Consultative Committee, S P Jeyapragasam pointed out that the 46-km stretch between Madurai and Virudhunagar should be doubled in first phase because the stretch was under enormous pressure of train traffic converging from three directions at Virudhunagar.