Sunday, June 04, 2006

Developements in the proposed Cuddalore - Chennai rail project

For more than eight months there was no talk about the proposed Cuddalore and Chennai rail project until Union Minister of State of Railways R Velu broke the silence.Chennai- Mahabalipuram- Pondicherry- Cuddalore project is much anticipated by the people of Cuddalore and Pondicherry.

There was a proposal to connect Cuddalore-Pondicherry-Thindivanam and thus Chennai thereafter.This wont be a prefered route from Cuddalore to Chennai because of the travel time.Somehow the proposal got droped.

Later Pondicherry government put forward a proposal to connect Chennai (I suppose through Mahabalipuram) and Pondicherry thus leaving out Cuddalore.When Pondicherry government brought up the issue in 23rd Southern Zonal Council meeting, then Chief Minister Ms.J.Jayalalitha had promised to give the land along Buckingham canal.This proposal also seems to have failed the feasibility test.

Finally Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)-Pondicherry conducted a survey by itself. CII survey results showed the essential return could be got only if the railway line started from Cuddalore. So understanding necessitivity, Cuddalore was also include in the project and the survey findings where submitted to Southern Railways. It seems Southern Railways submitted (by the end of October 2005) the proposal to Railway Board for further proceedings.

This being the scenario, Mr.Velu he himself came forward and said that "a survey had been commissioned with regard to a railway line to link Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry and Cuddalore."
while inspecting the ongoing works on MRTS in Perungudi.

Railway projects in Tamil Nadu were never given prefernce by successive governments. Since parties from Tamil Nadu has a stronger vioce this time, many railway projects are sanctioned here.A total of 80 new Railway Over Bridges are to be constructed in Tamil Nadu.The project must be sanctioned before the end of this term.If not it is less likely that the project will get the approval, especially because Tamil Nadu really got much in the present term.

As of now it appears that the MRTS will be extended along the Old Mahabalipuram Road upto Mahabalipuram, to provide the necessary support for the IT Corridor .So once Cuddalore-Pondicherry-Mahabalipuram line is laid it will make a complete the connection to Chennai.Old Mahabalipuram Road being the prefered destination IT firms this railway project once completed will get competitive advantage to both Pondicherry and Cuddalore.

It is interesting to note that work on Velachery-St.Thomas Mount is to start soon and is expected to be completed in four years.So making it easy for the tourists (from the Air Port) to reach places of touristic importance along the east coast.

Let us put aside our assertions and wait for the survey results of Department of Railways.

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