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Allocation of funds for projects especially for laying new railway lines very poor

Southern Railway which operates trains in the highly dense traffic states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala has got a budget allocation of Rs 4,118.80 crore for the financial year 2019-20 in the union budget presented to the Lok sabha last week.

Out of the Rs 4,118.80 Crore, Rs 901.90 crore has been allocated for doubling of tracks. The railway’s internal wing Rail Vikas Nigam is implementing the track doubling project from Madurai to Tuticorin to provide connectivity to the Major port of Tuticorin which has been in existence for the past 45 years. At present the port has single railway line connectivity to the railway network and hence 80 per cent of the cargo is handled by the road sector. This adds up to the logistics cost.

Fund allocation for doubling of tracks, very poor

The project was announced two years ago in the union budget and fund allocation has been poor. In fact the railway minister Piyush Goyal had announced  the project which envisages laying of double railway track in 160 kilometers would take three years for completion. The Minister however did not commit any time frame for completion of the second leg of the sanctioned project to Kanyakumari.

 Gauge conversion and new lines project Gauge conversion and new lines projects have been allocated Rs 245.10 crore and Rs 52.29 crore respectively, according to an official release.

Several sanctioned new lines pending in TN for over 10 years

Several sanctioned new lines projects have been pending in Tamil Nadu for over ten years like Tuticorin Madurai via Arupukottai, Chennai-Puducherry via Mahabalipuram, Tindivanam Nagari and providing a rail link to Dharmapuri. At the current rate of allocation for new railway lines which is rs 50 crores (to be shared with Kerala) these projects would take at least fifty years for completion according to business chamber sources in the city.As for  gauge conversion projects  the only one between Tiruvarur to Pattukottai has been complete.

Giving importance to railway safety work, Rs 380.54 crore have given for work related to road over bridge and road under bridge and Rs 51.87 crore is allocated for level crossings work.

Track renewal work has been allocated Rs 918 crore. Various traffic facilities will get upgraded with the provision of Rs of Rs. 41.47 crore.
Passenger amenities at stations will be upgraded with Rs 264.22 crore allocated in the budget.

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