Kollam: The cross-border trains to Tamil Nadu are likely to chug off from May with the Punalur –Shenkotta railway gauge broadening work nearing completion. The railways have completed the work in three out of five reaches along the route. However, the delays in eviction, quarrying and administrative sanction for various operations still hinder the work. Mr N.K. Premachandran MP said, “the Punalur –Edamon, Shenkotta – Bhagavathipuram and Bhagavathipuram – New Aryankavu reaches are ready for operations. The railway chief safety commissioner will inspect these reaches by the second week of February and commission them by March.”
The work along Edamon – Thenmala and Thenmala – New Aryankavu is pending. Of a total distance of 20 km, track installation has been completed in half the distance. The work was also slowed down owing to protests in acquiring land for the approach road to Aryankavu railway station. The metre-gauge rail service along the Punalur - Shenkotta stretch was stopped in September 2010. The railways carried out gauge conversion as part of the 325-km Kollam- Shenkotta -Tenkasi- Tirunelveli- Thiruchendur project. The Shenkotta-Thiruchendur and Kollam-Punalur route has been opened for rail traffic.
Road traffic may be affected
Considering the heavy traffic in Punalur town, the railways have constructed a subway. However, it remains useless to the public due to the lack of coordination by the public works and revenue departments in acquiring land for the approach road. The railways have also constructed a gate which will intensify the traffic congestion once trains are operated along the new track....