मंगलूरु Mangaluru (MAQ): On a recent visit to his hometown Rajapur in Konkan, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu mooted the idea recognising Fernandes’ contribution to the development of one of the most picturesque railway routes in the country.
In an informal chat with reporters here, Prabhu recounted how Fernandes, during his term, ensured adequate funds for the Konkan Railway. Incidentally, all the key players pursuing the project were holding key positions in the government.
Fernandes, who is from Mangalore, was the Railway Minister; Madhu Dandavate, who conceptualised the route, was the finance minister. “The duo got on board Ramakrishna Hedge, who hailed from coastal Karnataka, to ensure funds for the project. Hegde was then the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission,” Prabhu said.
Prabhu recalled that it was the foresight of Fernandes that took the Konkan Railway till Kochi, thus bringing the western coast on the railway map.“We want to commemorate the contribution of Fernandes, but naming a railway station after him would not do justice. It has to be something unique,” Prabhu said.
The 84-year-old Fernandes is undergoing treatment for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and currently he may not recall the role he played.
To tide over the difficulties in financing the project, the Konkan Railway Corporation was incorporated as a PSU and raised funds from market sources.