Hyderabad: Telangana is not just another dot on the railway map of the behemoth known as the Indian Railway. The country’s youngest State is one of the most crucial regions for the Railway, connecting the north to the south.
And that is why the South Central Railway, the only zone catering to Telangana, is going all out with major plans to boost the rail infrastructure in the State. Buoyed by an enhanced budget this year, of Rs 1,813 crore as against last year’s Rs 1,729 crore, a number of infrastructure augmentation works are on and more are being drawn out.
According to Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, SCR, these works include electrification of lines, doubling and tripling of lines, removal of unmanned level crossings, replacement of worn out tracks and so on. Most crucial among the works were those on new lines in the State.
Land acquisition was in progress for new lines of 32 km from Manoharabad to Gajwel on the 150 km-Manoharabad-Kothapally route. This, according to SCR officials, would provide an alternative route to Karimnagar and would be passing through the three Assembly constituencies of Gajwel, Sircilla and Siddipet. Work on the much-awaited new line from Akkannapet to Medak, of 17 km, too was on and would be completed this fiscal, Yadav said.
Officials said that Telangana, in about three years, would also have the distinction of having its entire rail network being electrified. The entire SCR zone has about 6,000 km route, of which 3,000 km have been electrified already and sanction has come for electrification of the rest.
“Last year, we completed electrification of 609 km, and this year, we are targeting 700 km,” the GM said.
In Telangana, of the total 1,822 route km, 1,100 km have been electrified and the rest would be completed in three to four years, thus doing away with the system of diesel traction.
Unmanned level crossings (UMLC), which have been a major threat to SCR’s clean record for safety, are also becoming history. The zone had 268 last year, of which 136 were removed.
“This year, we began with 132, and have just 90 remaining. Telangana has only seven unmanned crossings left. We will declare SCR a zero UMLC zone by September 30,” Yadav said.
As for replacement of worn out tracks, 300 km of old tracks were replaced last year, with the target for 2018-19 being 400 km.
Lingampally terminal works in full swing
In and around the State capital as well, the SCR is busy. Hectic work is on developing the Lingampally terminal. The first phase of work is over, with two trains originating and four stopping at Lingampally.
The second phase will over by the end of June, and the terminal, which caters to the IT hub of Hyderabad, will have six trains originating from there from July onwards. This will do away with the need of passengers in the region having to come all the way to Secunderabad to board trains.
As for the proposed satellite terminal at Nagulapally, inspections are on, SCR GM Vinod Kumar Yadav said, adding that taking a cue from IT Minister KT Rama Rao’s suggestion, the plan was to develop Nagulapally as a commercial hub with multimodal facilities. Work on the expansion of Cherlapally as a satellite terminal too was on, he said.