Kochi: Land acquisition issues which have slowed down track doubling works in the 115-km long Ernakulam-Kottayam-Kayamkulam section have eased with the state government promising to hand over all the required land for the work by this year end.
“The dispute with the land owners over the price has been settled. What now remains to be settled are certain plots where there are ownership claims among families. The state government has informed us that the required land for doubling works will be handed over to us in full by this year end,” said a senior official involved with the work.
The land acquisition issue was faced mainly in the eight km long Kuruppanthara-Ettumanur section and the railways now are targetting to complete doubling works in the sector by March 2018.
“We had a similar land issue in the 11 km Chingavanam-Chenganasseri section where the construction of Railway Overbridges is also progressing. Now we aim to commission the section by October. With this, doubling will be completed in 89 kms of the total 115 km long Ernakulam-Kottayam-Kayamkulam section. The trains could save upto 15 minutes of running time,” the official said.
However, the doubling of the 18.4 km-long Ettumanur-Chingavanam section will only be completed by March 2020 as the reach consists of tunnels.
The completion of the track doubling works in the Kottayam section is crucial for introducing new trains and cutting down running time. Earlier, the union government had allotted Rs 100 crore to complete works in the Kuruppanthara-Chingavanam (26.54 km) section.
“To speed up track-doubling work, we have also put in place a dedicated team comprising two Chief Engineers and three Deputy Chief Engineers,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Railway Board is expected to sanction the detailed estimate for doubling in the Ernakulam-Ambalapuzha section of the coastal railway line soon. “The doubling in Harippad-Ambalapuzha is also targeted to be completed by March next (already there is a double track in the Kayamkulam-Harippad section),” the official said.