The general budget of union government for 2018-19 has made provisions to improve, enhance and modify passenger amenity facilities in Southern Railway in general and Palakkad division in particular. Projects have been sanctioned as umbrella works combining similar works at different locations. Southern Railway has been provided an umbrella sanction of Rs 450 crore, for provision of foot over bridges, extension and raising and improvement of platforms.
Accordingly, Rs 66.71 lakh has been allotted for development of new passenger reservation building and allied facilities at Mangaluru Central station which is an old sanctioned work for which tender has been opened recently. An amount of Rs 40 lakh each has been allotted for additional platform work at Kannur and Mangaluru Central and Rs 75 crore allotted for the ongoing doubling-work between Mangaluru Junction and Panambur.
Likewise, an amount of Rs 21 crore has been allotted for the Nethravathi- Mangaluru Central (1.5 km) doubling work. Out of the umbrella sanction of above-mentioned Rs 450 crore, Rs 68.28 crore has been allotted this year. In addition, an umbrella sanction of Rs 300 crore has been allotted for soft upgrades and improvements at stations for Southern Railway such as charging of points, seats/benches/facade, circulating area improvement, landscaping and drinking water.
The division-wise distribution of both above umbrella funds will be decided at zonal headquarters. Giving umbrella sanction thus gives flexibility to zonal railways to prioritise works and has been adopted in Railway budget for the first time. A sanction of 2859 escalators at an estimated cost of Rs 2859 crore for escalators and 1000 lifts at 500 stations at an estimated cost of Rs 404 crore for entire Indian Railways has also been conveyed under two separate umbrella works.
As regards track works, the budget allotment for 2017-18 was Rs 175 crore. Due to the shortage of supply of rails from Bhilai, the fund booking will be less, divisional authorities stated. This will be made good next year as the tentative targets for 2018-19 are 120 km of sleeper renewals and 160 km of rail renewals apart from 170 sets of points and crossing renewal. The requirement of funds in 2018-19 will be more than 2017-18 on this account, the authorities added.