Railways begin land survey for Ariyalur-Namakkal line’ Chettinad Cement to be evicted off Railway land

The construction wing of the SR has begun land survey for laying a new broad gauge line for 108-km connecting Ariyalur with Namakkal, via Perambalur, Thuraiyur and Thathaiyengarpet.

CHENNAI: The construction wing of the SR has begun a land survey for laying a new broad gauge line for 108-km connecting Ariyalur  (on the Thiruchchirappalli Division of Southern Railway) with Namakkal (on the Salem Division of Southern Railway) via Perambalur, Thuraiyur and Thathaiyengarpet.

The proposed line is expected to provide connectivity for Perambalur district. In its recent order, the railway board has communicated to SR that Rs 16.5 lakh has been sanctioned to conduct the survey.

“We will be assessing the tentative route of the line along with the quantum of land required for the project. In addition, freight and passenger traffic potential, classification of land and rate of return for the project would also be studied,” said an official from the construction wing. Presently, with no direct train connectivity, the people of Perambalur district travel up to Tiruchy or Ariyalur to take trains.

The proposed new line will connect Perambalar and Namakkal districts with Chennai – Madurai chord line thereby creating an alternative route linking Namakkal with Chennai.“Presently, Chennai – Namakkal section gets connected via Katpadi, Jolarpet and Salem station. The proposed new line would provide connectivity between Chennai Egmore and Namakkal via Villupuram and Ariyalur. In addition, if the proposed route is extended up to Erode it will provide second rail route to Western Tamil Nadu,” said railway sources.

The Chennai Egmore – Madurai chord line and Chennai Central – Salem line are linked through various routes, including Arakkonam – Kancheepuram – Chengalpattu section, Katpadi – Vellore – Tiruvannamalai – Villupuram, Erode – Karur – Dindigul, Vriddhachalam -Attur – Salem, Tiruchy – Karur – Namakkal – Salem and Dindigul – Karur – Namakkal – Salem.

“Since Ariyalur has a number of cement factories, freight movement in the proposed new railway line will be heavy since cement is now transported by road to different places within Tamil Nadu and neighbouring States,” Mr. Marutharaja said.

Passenger movement will be equally good since the demand for rail service to Perambalur has remained a felt need for several years now, he felt.

The proposed survey is expected to begin in a couple of months.

According to railway sources, it will be done from engineering and traffic point of view. Land required for the new project, number of bridges to be constructed and the new stations en route will come under the scope of engineering survey. Tenders will be floated to identify an agency to carry out the survey.

The traffic survey will be done by the Southern Railway Construction Organisation, said the sources. It will take into account passenger, freight and parcel movements in the proposed new line and prospective returns for the railway.

Chettinad Cement Corp Ltd has been ordered to vacate government land that it encroached upon to construct a railway track to its Ariyalur railway track. The Madras High Court passed the judgement with Justice SM Subramaniam also ordering a probe into government officials involved in colluding with factory management to use the land.

“Such industries cannot encroach upon government land, which is not only a water body, but also used as a pathway by the villagers and the people of that locality. This, the collusion in this regard by the authorities  are also to be investigated by the state government, said Subramaniam.

The court dismissed Chettinad Cement’s plea for action against the sub-collector against the encroachment. Chettinad Cement has two weeks to evict all encroachments made by the company on the land.