Indian Railways News

TN off track with Centre on JV to speed up rail projects

Tamil Nadu is yet to agree to the terms and conditions proposed by the Ministry of Railways to set up a joint venture company to speed up railway projects in the state. The ministry has been urging the government to sign the agreement for close to a year.

Talks are on between the government and the railways to set up a joint venture. However, it is getting delayed as the government is not agreeing to the proposed to a 50-50 partnership in investment for the projects.

A similar venture, Kerala Rail Development Corporation (KRDC), between the rail ministry and the Kerala government with an equity participation of 49:51 ratio, meanwhile, is on track. The ministry and that state are in the process of finalising a detailed project report.

Southern Railway general manager R K Kulshrestha, at a press conference to explain the achievements of the zone, on Wednesday, said, the ministry had suggested a similar joint venture company for Tamil Nadu.

“The state has not agreed to the terms because it involves 50:50 share. The JV will help railways to take up new lines, doubling, development of suburban lines and others,” he added.

Kulshrestha said equal share is needed from the state government because “we spend a lot of money on land acquisition.” Then railway minister Suresh Prabhu had also urged the state government to sign the MoU in March 2017, to create a special purpose vehicle so that railway projects can be prioritised for the state.

The zone is planning to operate more special trains on the Chennai-Madurai route this year as doubling of the line has been completed and a new coaching terminal at Tambaram has also started functioning.

“We plan to use Antyodaya rakes on the Tambaram-Sengottai and Tambaram-Tirunelveli routes. We have asked for the permission of the Railway Board,” he said. Kulshrestha indicated that Southern Railway could increase special trains to Madurai, Nagercoil and Madurai as well as goods trains due to a “29% increase in inward load from other zones”.

Railways will take up doubling of Omallur-Mettur Dam (29km) line, Beach-Korukkupet line, Singaperumal Koil-Guduvanchery-Tambaram line and gauge conversion of Pattukottai-Tirupattur and Madurai-Udumalpet line will be completed by this financial year.

The zone is also looking at running trains at 160kmph on Chennai-Gudur and Chennai-Bengaluru section.

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