THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a major blow to the rail infrastructure development of capital city, the railways has decided to drop the Nemom Coaching Terminal project almost a decade after the project was conceived. The decision has dashed hopes of developing Nemom as a satellite town.
According to railways, the development of a coaching terminal in Kochuveli would take care of the traffic of the area. The decision came as a shocker as the railways had given hope at the very last moment that the project would take off, despite the inordinate delay in finalising the project work worth Rs 117 crore.
However the decision became clear after the Ministry of Railways gave a written statement to a question raised by MP John Brittas informing him that the work has not been taken forward as the coaching terminal in Nemom was not found justified. Brittas later wrote a letter to Minister of Railways, Ashwani Vaishnaw, to reconsider the decision.
“Ministry of Railways decided to abandon the project of Nemom Coaching Terminal on February 16. It came merely 12 days after giving a written reply to me that the project was under consideration,” said Brittas in his letter to the minister. “The decision is a crushing blow to the aspirations for the development of railway infrastructure and rail traffic in the state. There is also an air of apprehension over the recent demand for developing Nagercoil as a terminal instead of Nemom,” the letter said.
The project first appeared in the Union budget of 2011-12. It got a push after the project was made part of the umbrella work of 2018-19. Accordingly the then minister of railways Piyush Goyal laid the foundation stone for the project through video conferencing. In the function the minister acknowledged the importance of the project for the smooth flow of rail traffic.
However the work could be started only after the detailed project report was sanctioned and required funds were allotted. The Southern Railway submitted the DPR to the Railway Board on November 2, 2019. It took more than two years for railways to study the DPR and decide against the project. General Education Minister and Nemom MLA V Sivankutty called for strong protests against the decision of railways. “The decision to drop a project that was looked upon with hope by the state came as a shocker,” he said.