Derailed plans, delayed departures and late arrivals are synonymous with the railways. The process of doubling of Coimbatore-Irugur railway line which is moving at a snails pace is an example for this. Though the funds had been sanctioned in 1990, officials arent sure of when it would see the light of the day. Except the two-km stretch between the Coimbatore railway station and Coimbatore North, which was taken up in 2002 and completed in two years, no other works have been completed so far.
The authorities have an instant reply - `lack of funds. Sriram Ranganathan, who has been voicing concern over the inordinate delay in completion of project in the portal `Southern Railway Discussion Forum, told that the work on the 15-km-long Coimbatore-Irugur doubling project is virtually showing no signs of any progress. The southern railway general manager Rakesh Chopra, during his inspection of the works in June 2008, had given a final deadline of July 2009 for the completion of Irugur project. Meanwhile, the works on two major bridges on the NH 209 near Textool (Ganapathy) and Hope College (Avinashi Road) are going at a slow pace while work is yet to start at Sanganur bridge (Sivananda Coloy).
Raising a valid point, C M Jayaram, secretary, Citizens Voice Club, an NGO, said that when the work on doubling of railway line in Chennai could be completed in four months, why the six-kilometer stretch between Coimbatore-Podanur couldnt be completed. The Podanur meter gauge line was closed three years ago and only levelling of road has been completed. Work on BG conversion is yet to start, he added. There was much hype that work would move fast after the formation of the Salem railway division. Belying the hopes of the western region people, things had gone bad. Is the Minister of State for Railway listening to this?
WAITING FOR WHOM?: The four current ticket booking counters including one for the differently-abled persons, constructed on the western side of the Coimbatore railway station a few months ago, are yet to be officially commissioned as there is no clarification from the authorities as to whom they are waiting for. Already, there is a huge rush at three of the 10 counters functioning at the main building. Then why there should be a delay in opening the newly constructed counters, commuters ask.