THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: When Union Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi presents the Railway Budget on Wednesday, the city will be hoping to get a slew of projects as well as the pending budgetary allocation.
Among the new trains that the State is hoping for, a direct train from Thiruvananthapuram to Mumbai is one among the long-pending demands that passengers are looking for in the budget.
As part transforming the Thiruvananthapuram Central into a world-class station, a request is pending before the Railway Ministry to launch free Wi-Fi service and to install elevators and escalators. The Railway Medical College in the city, announced in the 2010-11 budget, is yet to materialise.
Though the Government wants world-class facilities at the Central Station, it would suggest to the Railways to take steps to shift the traffic to Nemom and Kochuveli. The Government has proposed shifting the coach maintenance depot from Thampanoor to Nemom, while ‘holistic’ development is proposed for Kochuveli. With Thiruvananthapuram Central at saturation point, the original plan was to develop Kochuveli as a well-equipped terminal.
More passenger amenities, a digital information system and coach number displays are also recommended for the station. Kochuveli will also get two bus bays. According to officials at Kochuveli, 32 trains - 16 pairs - operate from the railway station every week, trains carrying hundreds of passengers to places as far as Chandigarh, Bikaner and Dehradun. But the station - recently the State Government had announced that it was being named after Dr Vikram Sarabhai - which has two platforms lacks basic amenities.
The State Government will also ask the Railways to find a solution to the parking woes at Central Station. Lack of adequate parking facilities at the station has been troubling passengers for long. The Government will suggest the setting up of a multi-level car parking facility here. The facility, which could come up on a PPP model, is one of the major demands of the State Government.
The Railways will be asked to set up more passenger amenities at the Central Station and other stations in the district. They include foot-overbridges, platform roof, drinking water, waiting room and information display systems.
The Railway Budget-2011 had earmarked ` 30 lakh for the Phase-II development of the station, but this was a measly sum considering the development required here. The station lacks enough toilets and a cloak room, among other things.
Like Kochuveli, Nemom also does not lack in land, but infrastructure. The 2011-12 Budget proposed to develop Nemom as the second satellite terminal to Thiruvananthapuram Central.
The ideal situation, say passengers’ associations, would be to extend some trains coming from the north down to Nemom and in-bound from Nagercoil up to Kochuveli. This would free Thiruvananthapuram Central of unnecessary congestion.