Does the Railway ministry plan to bifurcate the Thiruvananthapuram railway division? According to news reports, the ministry plans to transfer a stretch of around 150 km from the Nagercoil-Kanyakumari sector from Thiruvananthapuram division to the Madurai division.
This would be in line with a plan made more than a decade ago to transfer stretches belonging to Tamil Nadu to divisions in the state. However, this would leave the Thiruvananthapuram division with just few areas under its coverage.
According to The Hindu, the Thiruvananthapuram railway division was formed on October 2, 1979. The youngest division in the region was carved out of the Shoranur-Kochi Harbour section and the Ernakulam-Thiruvananthapuram section from the Madurai division.
The proposal has been slammed by CPI (M) and Congress.
Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor has written to Union Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu, asking him to shelve any such plan.
"In the event that media reports are accurate, I would like to urge that such plan be scrapped. It would in fact weaken existing functions of the railways, its various development goals l, as well as the gradation of the Thiruvananthapuram division, causing considerable damage and distress to the people of the region and the state itself.'
Tharoor added that such a decision would also hit revenue collection. "As you are aware, the southern part of Thiruvananthapuram is witnessing several developments, Vizhinjam seaport being the most significant. At such a critical time, a decision like the one proposed would affect the division adversely and take a tremendous toll on revenue collection, which is likely to increase with goods transportation in the coming years.
The CPI (M) district Committee too has opposed the move. ‚ÄúThe move will undermine the very existence of a Railway Division. Also, it will result in Kerala losing its dream project of getting a Railway Zone,‚ÄĚ CP (M) district secretary Anavoor Nagappan was quoted by TNIE.
However, BJP leader O Rajagopal has denied there were any such plans. ‚ÄúThe official said the railways have no plan to transfer the section and that the Southern Railway was only seeking an opinion after it got a memorandum in this regard from Tamil Nadu,‚ÄĚ Rajagopal said.
The Deccan Chronicle has however reported that the Thiruvananthapuram Divisional Railway Manager's office received a direct letter from the railway board on July 22 last asking for their opinion on the proposal to transfer Tirunelveli-Nagercoil and Kanyakumari-Nagercoil-Trivandrum section to Madurai division and Sengottai-Kollam from Madurai Division to Trivandrum Division.