Dec 31, 2016

Proposed green railway station project in limbo

(Representative image)

KOCHI: The Kochi corporation's inefficacy in rehabilitating around 27 families from the Old Railway station premises was one major reason delaying the conversion of Kochi's century-old station into the country's first 'Green Railway Station', say railway officials.
"The railway division board as well as the ministry have approved the project plan. The 48-acre railway land, if accordingly planned, could be converted into a 'Green Railway Station'. However, unless the families residing within the railway limits are not relocated, the project cannot go ahead," said general convener of the Old Railway Station Vikasana Samity K P Harihara Kumar.

However, city mayor Soumini Jain said the rehabilitation of the 27 families was not the only hindrance holding up the project.

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"The railway track that passes by the Pachalam overbridge should have a railway gate built before the railway station starts functioning. Also, the tracks that pass through Mangalavanam area poses a problem for the reserved ecosystem. Such issues have to be addressed before the families are displaced, which otherwise might be for a futile cause," said Jain.

Jain added that the families living in the encroached land have been included in the ongoing Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana Scheme and thus will be rehabilitated soon.

Conversely, a senior railway official said that construction of crossing or Railway Overbridge (RoB) was not the prime concern for restarting the Ernakulam Terminus (ERG) but encroachment itself.

"Initially, the services will be conducted just twice a day. Only if the number of services are increased will the need of an RoB arise. As there are markets and high court near, there are high chances that a good number of people might make use of the service, but the contrary can also happen in which case the funds spent for the construction of an over bridge will be a waste of resources," the official said.
Source - Times Of India