MANGALORE: Kerala, having bucked the ‘Modi wave’, has lost an advantage in getting the railway line between Kaaniyoor in the hinterland and Kanghagad in Kerala commissioned on schedule, activists assert.
Activists in Puttur and Mangalore claim that Kerala, in not allowing the BJP to open its account there, has motivated them to go hammer and tongs against the proposed railway line that will help passengers from Kerala reach Bangalore or Mysore.
The project, however, has the full backing of the Karnataka government. In February, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah even ordered the survey work of broad-gauge railway line between Kaaniyoor in reserved forest area and Kanghagad.
Following protests, Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel had written to then Union Minister for Railways Mallikarjun Kharge expressing his objections to the line. Member of Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee (DRUCC), SWR Mysore Division, Sudarshan Puttur said Kannadigas, despite sacrificing land, have been at the receiving end without gainful employment in the railways or proper rail connectivity.
After the formation of Hassan-Mangalore Railway Development Corporation (HMRDC ) only three trains run between Mangalore and Bangalore.
“Mahalaxmi Express via Hassan-Arasikere, approved by the Railway Ministry years ago, has not commenced till date,” he lamented.
When there was a request for running a train from Bangalore to Karwar, it was extended to Kannur in Kerala instead of Karwar.
After the Supreme Court’s intervention, the railways extended the train up to Karwar by bifurcating it from Mangalore without discontinuing the train to Kannur.
Kerala’s wide network of railway connectivity is the envy of all. From Kerala, there are trains doing two dozen trips to Western regions like Mumbai, Gujarat and northern India through Mangalore junction railway station.
Despite many demands from coastal districts, the Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, by permitting the survey, appears to be more interested in the welfare of a neighbouring state, Sudarshan alleged. “We are now confident that unlike in the past, our campaign will find support of the powers-that-be,” he said.