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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tamil Nadu gets sizable share of rail budget

VILLUPURAM: Tamil Nadu ruled by UPA constituent DMK got a sizable share in this year's Railway Budget with the state being allocated 12 new trains, extension of six trains, three new railway lines and Rs 1,327 crore to carry out the projects.

Besides, three meter gauge railway lines in the state would be converted into broad gauge and surveys would be conducted to lay three new railway lines.

"Tamil Nadu this time has got more number of trains and funds to carry out various projects related to Railways.

The budgetary allocation this year is Rs 1,327 crore as against last year's figure of 1,075 crore," Union Minister of State for Railways R Velu told reporters here.

He said 25 new rail overbridges would be constructed in Tamil Nadu out of the total 94 bridges announced for entire country in the budget on Tuesday.

A coaching terminal at a cost of Rs 25 crores would be constructed in Tambaram, the gleaming suburb of Chennai, to decongest the railway stations in the state capital.

To a query why the long-awaited project of connecting the Chennai Central railway station with Egmore station did not find a mention in the budget, Velu said "it is under consideration and we will wait till the Tamil Nadu government finalises the routes for the proposed metro train."

Under the extension of trains announced on Tuesday, Chennai will be directly connected with Purthapatti (Shri Sathyasai Prasanti Nilayam) in Andhra Pradesh.

The long-awaited Chennai-Cuddalore railway line via Mamallapuram and Puducherry and Erode-Palani line via Darapuram has been sanctioned by this year's budget.

A new line connecting Attipattu in Tamil Nadu with Puttur in Andhra Pradesh will also be constructed, Velu said.

The temple cities of Varanasi and Rameswaram would be connected with a weekly express train while a weekly train from Gaya to Chennai would be introduced, the budget said.

The two Garib Raths which would pass through Tamil Nadu are Bangalore-Kochuveli in Kerala and Yashwantpur in Bangalore and Puducherry.

A goods handling facilty would come up at Tondiarpet in Chennai at a cost of Rs 6 crore while a goods head facility will be constructed in Kavarpettai near the state capital at a cost of Rs 5 crore, Velu said.

A coaching terminal at a cost of Rs 10 crore would come up in Puducherry, Velu said.

Escalator facility at Madurai railway junction has also found a mention in the budget this year.

The 273km long Villupuram-Dindigul railway line will be double track at a cost of Rs 822 crore and 4th line would be added to Thiruvalluvar-Arakkonam corridor at a cost of Rs 80 crore.

Velu also said that after the construction of fourth line between Thiruvallur and Arakkonam, two lines would be decidated to suburban trains connecting Chennai with Tiruttani and the remaining two lines will be used for long distance trains.

The meter gauge line between Madurai and Bodinaykkanur would be converted into broad guage at a cost of Rs 160 crore. Surveys for new lines connecting Karaikudi with Kanyakumari via Ramanathapuram and Tuticorin, Chidambaram with Attur via Perambalur and Thanjavur and Ariyalur would be taken up during this year, Velu said.

The loco workshop in Perambur will be modernised at a cost of Rs 7.2 crore while a total of Rs 56 crore has been alloted to construct new buildings and facilities at Perambur Railway Hospital.

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