KANCHEEPURAM: Perhaps no other district in Tamil Nadu would have higher expectations from Friday’s railway budget than Kan­cheepuram. The area MP P Viswanathan has proposed as many as eight projects, including the long-pending electrification of crucial “remaining eight km of line from Thakkolam to Arakkonam” — a small stretch of track that would hugely benefit Kanchee­puram, Vellore, Tiruvallur and Chennai.
In 1999, Kancheepuram was connected to Arakkonam and Chengalpattu through broad gauge. Subsequently, electrification of Chengalpattu-Thakkolam line via Kanchee­puram began. But the electrification of the crucial eight km track from Thakkolam to Arakkonam was initially kept in abeyance as it was running close to Rajali Naval Air Base raising security related objections. As such, the existing line between Thakkolam and Arakkonam had to be shifted to a new stretch before electrification, away from the naval base. When the naval authorities finally cleared the project, it got entangled in private litigation for more than a decade.
Viswanathan, however, laid greater emphasis on the Tirupathi-Nagore project as it would connect the temple city with Mammallapuram, Thanjavur, and Vailankanni. Likewise, a new link from Kancheepuram to Chennai through Sunguvarchatiram, Sriperumbudur (Rajiv Gandhi Memorial), Irungattukottai, Poonamallee and Guindy would reduce travel time by half. Lakhs of people working in SEZs would benefit from this, he added.