Over the years, political parties have made much hue and cry over the lack of proper fund allocation for railway development in Kerala. However, the laxity on the part of the Railways and the state government has resulted in a massive chunk of these funds being diverted, allegedly, to the neighbouring state, over the span of a decade.
As per data received from railway sources, an amount of `2708.55 crore was allocated for various railway development work in the state between 2002 and 2012. Out of this, only `1465.95 crore was utilised. Funds to the tune of `1242.06 crore lapsed due to various reasons and were diverted for the development of railway infrastructure in Tamil Nadu.
“There are times when a token amount is given but the Railways is unable to finish a project. Since the amount remains unused it would be diverted to the next project after a review, according to priority. Many a times resources are spread thin and wide across the state. The funds are not lapsed. It is only reallocated to a project that is on the verge of completion,” said a senior Southern Railway official who declined to be named.
However, C E Chakkunny, general convenor, Malabar Rail Users Association said, “The amount diverted to Tamil Nadu is a huge loss for our state.”
M K Raghavan MP, Kozhikode said this happens because the decisions are made by a body located in Chennai. “Most of the decisions taken by the head quarters is not positive for the growth of railways in our state. An example is the move to bifurcate Palakkad division,” he said. Calicut Chamber of Commerce president P T S Unni said the lapsing of railway funds is shocking.