Railway Budget; State has high expectations

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With Assembly elections round the corner, the State has high expectations when Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee presents the railway budget 2011-12 in the Lok Sabha on Friday.

Major announcements are awaited to address the grievances in the railway network in the State. It expects realisation of the projects sanctioned in the previous budgets.The shifting of E. Ahamed from Railway Ministry to External Affairs Ministry will be felt this time.

But the presence of A.K. Antony, Vayalar Ravi, Mullappally Ramachandran, K.V. Thomas, K.C. Venugopal and Mr. Ahamed in the Union Cabinet will work to the advantage of the State. Efforts of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) to regain power in the State by projecting more Centre-sponsored projects are expected to bring in more cheers. Shashi Tharoor, MP, had also submitted a detailed wish list of railway projects for the State.

The biggest challenge before Ms. Banerjee is to make adequate provision for commencing the sanctioned projects for the State and timely completion of the doubling and development works.

The commencement of Mainline Electric Multiple Units (MEMU) for short distance commuters, coach factory at Palakkad, wagon unit at Cherthala, railway medical college in capital, drinking water bottling plant and upgrading Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Kozhikode railway stations with world class facilities are some of the projects sanctioned in the previous budgets but still remain in paper.

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