Keeping in mind the safe transportation of LPG in the state, the railways have urged the state government to
immediately consider the roping in of its services for the delivery of the product. The proposal comes in the wake of the Chief Minister’s statement that alternative methods of LPG transportation should be sought in the state.
“At present, 60,000 tonnes of LPG per month is being transported through the highways of the state, leading to road congestion and safety issues. With the Railway Board’s consent, we are willing to transport the cargo through the rail network. However, we are calling for more co-operation from the state government and the oil companies in this regard,” said Rajesh Agarwal, Thiruvananthapuram DRM. He added that the public need not fear that the trains will be affected, as adequate measures will be adopted to avoid any kind of traffic congestion.
“The priority will always be for the passengers,” he added. He said that half the congestion in road traffic could be brought to an all-time low, if the proposal is taken into consideration. “For every thirty lorries from the state traversing the national highways, we only need one train with 24 wagons (eight-wheel capacity). The service can be commenced in the next three months. For this, we call on the government to urgently look into the matter,” he said. The transportation of LPG through the rail network in the state is currently zero, which is a huge setback for the state as well as the railways. “In the Konkan railways, Ro-Ro’s are being used for the transportation of petroleum products. Here, it is disappointing that both the state government and the oil companies are not in favour of the Ro-Ro system,” he said. The system enables tanker lorries to be stacked on the railway wagons and is more feasible than transporting LPG through the railway bogie tanks. “The Ro-Ro’s can provide easier loading and unloading of LPG. We do not have sufficient loading and unloading facilities to transport the product through the bogies. The government and the oil companies should consider the setting up of such facilities in the state. This would require huge investment as compared to the Ro- Ro,” said another railway official. The state government has also been asked to consider shifting the transportation of other petroleum products, such as kerosene, petrol and diesel, through the rail network. “At present, a quarter of the share of the petroleum products are being transported via the rail network. We have asked the government to
increase the movement of the products through rail,” Agarwal added. LPG used to be transported on rail from here since the 1980s. However, it was brought to a stop three years ago. The railway authorities said that even after having talks with BPCL, the company is not willing to transport LPG through the rail network. The step could be to abet the tanker lorry lobby, sources said.