SHRI T.M. SELVAGANPATHI (SALEM): Presently more than 700 kms. broad-gauge line spread over seven Western districts of Tamil Nadu are controlled by Palaghat Division which is far away from Salem Junction. Therefore, there has been a demand to upgrade the Salem Junction to a Division and this demand of the people of Salem and other six Western districts of Tamil Nadu has been kept unfulfilled for the past several decades. Salem Junction is the biggest junction on the broad-gauge line in Tamil Nadu.
Salem is a junction of five railway lines. If the Salem Junction is upgraded to a Division, the Railways can run express trains to Mumbai, Tirupathi, Bangalore, Chennai, Rameshwaram and Nagoor profitably. Moreover this industrial town also requires Salem Junction to be upgraded as a Division to handle expeditiously the growing freight movement of both industrial as well as domestic. I would also like to point out here that the then hon. Minister of Railways in 1991 had given an assurance to the people of Salem that the Salem Junction would be upgraded as a Division in the Budget for the year 1992-93. However, this has not been done so far. Therefore, I urge upon the hon. Minister to announce for creation of Salem Division in the Budget for the year 2000-2001.