Thiruvananthpuram: The ministry of railways has sought the opinion of the Thiruvananthapuram division of the Southern Railway in connection with its plan to transfer the Tirunelveli-Nagercoil and Kanyakumari-Nagercoil-Thiruvananthapuram sections (except Thiruvananthapuram Central) to the Madurai division.
In a letter sent to the general manager of Southern Railway and the Divisional Railway Manager of Thiruvananthapuram division, the ministry of railways has sought their views, following which it will be sent to the minister of railways Piyush Goyel.
In lieu, little-known stations in Sengottai-Kollam route will be transferred from the Madurai division to the Thiruvananthapuram division. The Thiruvananthapuram division may lose Neyyattinkara, Nemom, Balaramapuram, Amaravila, Dhanuvachapuram and Parassala stations in the Kanyakumari-Nagercoil- Thiruvananthapuram section and two major stations in the Thirunelveli-Nagercoil section.
It will have to give over the control over nearly 160km of railway line in the Tirunelveli-Nagercoil and the Kanyakumari-Nagercoil-Thiruvananthapuram section, while it stands to gain control over about 80km of a railway line through a transfer of the Sengottai-Kollam route.
The passengers association in the state have expressed concern over the move and alleged that it was politically motivated.
"The move is aimed at weakening the Thiruvananthapuram division and if implemented, it will have an impact on the prospects of the division. The revenues of the division will take a hit as income from tourist places like Nagercoil and Kanyakumari will be lost," said S K Jayakumar, general secretary of the Kerala Railway Passengers Association.
Projects are allotted to railway divisions based on revenue collections. If these stations are transferred to the Madurai division, it will be a massive blow to Kerala's hopes of becoming a railway zone. Also, with the completion of Vizhinjam Seaport and coaching terminal in Nemom, though traffic along the route will pick up, the state will gain nothing from it," said Jayakumar.
The passengers' associations in Tamil Nadu, on their part, have been had to complain that the Thiruvananthapuram division has been neglecting the stations in Tamil Nadu while distributing resources and funds.
"It is a huge process to transfer a railway section to another division, as it will include the transfer of the operating and engineering wings. It will be a big challenge to relocate the staff." The employees working at Thiruvananthapuram have designations similar to those at Nagercoil," said Prakash Bhutani, divisional railway manager, Thiruvananthapuram division.