Kochi: Old railway station proposal still in limbo
Though the track renovation work at Ernakulam Old Railway Station is almost over, the station won't see trains chugging in again anytime soon.
KOCHI: Though the track renovation work at Ernakulam Old Railway Station is almost over, the station won't see trains chugging in again anytime soon. Lack of infrastructure is cited as the reason. According to Nithin Nobert, Railway area manager, only the sleepers and the rails have been changed.
“As of now, no plans are set to run train services. To conduct the services, the terminus will need various infrastructures like rooms for the station manager, passengers and ticket counters. However, no such plans are afoot as of now,” he said. Renovation of the terminal to world-class standard was one of the most prominent projects proposed by the Kerala Rail Development Corporation. The terminus, abandoned in 1990 with the development of Ernakulam Junction, is situated on 42 acres of land and KRDC had proposed to commercially exploit the spare land available.
A draft project report prepared by KITCO proposed a total cost of Rs 505 crore in Phase I to be implemented on PPP model. However, the proposal is pending before the Railway Board, said Harihara Kumar K P, convenor, Ernakulam Old Railway Station Vikasana Samithi.
“The old metal sleepers and rails were replaced at a cost of Rs 1.5 crore. As per the new plan, the terminus will have three platforms and once it is commissioned, the travel woes of many will become a thing of the past,” he said. According to Harihara Kumar, the station has a lot of historical significance.
“When Mahatma Gandhi arrived via train to Ernakulam, he disembarked here. Hence, one of the demands we have made is to start a train service to his home town Porbandar,” he said. The Samithi is planning to approach the new Union Railway Minister seeking fast-tracking the project.
“The project has been hanging in the balance for quite some time. Also, the issue of the rehabilitation of the 21 families still lags on. Until they are rehabilitated, the Railway can do nothing. The Corporation needs to expedite the process," Harihara Kumar said. Mayor Soumini Jain denied any apathy in implementing the rehabilitation programme.
“We had held discussions with the ward members and the councillors. We had even set aside an amount to compensate them. But we need to talk to the people to come to an understanding since the amount suggested by the government may not always be agreeable,” she said.