In what could be termed as a murky move, the Railways have decided to make it mandatory for two trains from Kerala to have compulsory halts at Coimbatore. The trains identified are Alappuzha-Chennai Super Fast Express and Thiruvananthapuram-Mumbai Weekly Express.
As per the decision, the trains will be re-routed from Podanur, increasing the travel distance by roughly 15 kilometres. All Kerala Railway Passengers Association president K J Paul Manvattom alleged that the move is to provide more emergency-quota opportunities for Tamil Nadu.
“These trains are mainly meant for the passengers travelling to and fro from Kerala. Owing to the heavy passenger rush in Coimbatore, there will be a demand to increase the emergency quota allotted to Tamil Nadu. If this occurs, a major portion of the said quota will be transferred from Kerala to Tamil Nadu, leading to a major loss for the state. Kerala’s share of reservation quota on these trains will reduce,” he said.
The railway timetable shows that there are sufficient number of trains already operating every hour from Coimbatore to Chennai.
From this week onwards, the Mangalore-Palakkad Inter City Express has extended its final stop to Coimbatore and the Mangalore-Thiruvananthapuram Parusuram Express has extended its final stop to Nagercoil. This move has created apprehensions among the authorities that the Thiruvananthapuram division will face huge losses.
Meanwhile, the All Kerala Railway Passengers Association is also pressing for a train from Kottayam to Coimbatore.
“There is a huge demand for a new train on this route. There are many passengers who travel to and fro from Kottayam in the morning. This will also benefit the passengers from the northern part of the state as it will enable them to reach their destinations before the duty hours,” Paul added.