January 17, 2018
Kochi: Adamant landowners have stalled railway development works through Kottayam, causing immense inconvenience to commuters, including Sabarimala pilgrims.
The work on the 114-km Ernakulam-Kayankulam section began in 2003 and only 69 per cent of work was over after 15 years.
A total of 78 km had double track through which trains were being operated. The 36-km doubling work remained incomplete in the Ettumanur and Chingavanam section in Kottayam district as landowners were with support of political leaders unwilling to surrender their land.
A total of six hectares was needed between Ettumanur and Chingavanam.
The revenue department was empowered to acquire the land executing its powers, but governments had over the years failed to act. The Sabarimala pilgrims coming from across the country have been suffering for the last one decade.
The silent strike by the Thiruvananthapuram railway division had made things worse. A meeting of the Union Minister Alfons Kannanthanam and Railway Board officials in Kochi yesterday said that it would take another two years for the work to get over.
Kannanthanam said he would meet the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister in connection with doubling of the Ambalapuzha-Ernakulam and Angamali-Erumeli-Sabarimala routes, Palakkad coach factory and Guruvayur-Tirunavaya link among others.
Kannanthanam said efforts would be made to restart survey works between Kunnamkulam and Tirunavaya which had remained suspended for long.