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SHRI TRILOCHAN KANUNGO (JAGATSINGHPUR): Mr. Chairman, Sir, I support the Supplementary Demands for Railways and I know the limitation of a Supplementary Budget. Still, I feel it is imperative and I feel it is my responsibility to bring to the notice of the hon. Minister, through you, certain problems, my own feelings and the feelings of the people of Orissa, here, in this august House.

At the outset, let me congratulate and express my gratitude on behalf of the people of Orissa that after the super-cyclone, the hon. Minister of Railways restored the railways in a record time. At the same time, I remind her and this august House that a perpetual negligence has been done to this part of the country in several sectors including railways. Not only after the Independence but even during the British Raj, Orissa had been neglected so far as railway development was concerned. A part of Orissa was tied to the tail end of Bengal and it did not get timely attention. A part of it was attached to the Central Province at that time. Another part was attached to the Madras Presidency. In 1853, when the first 120 miles long rail line was laid between Raniganj and Calcutta, Orissa had to wait for 50 years to see the laying of a railway line. In 1900, Orissa saw the first railway line after 50 long years of railway development in India. However, from 1900 to 1942, 1,300 kilometres of route length was laid in that part of Orissa. During the last 52 years, only 780 kilometres of railway line has been laid. The result is that per thousand square kilometre of geographical area, Orissa has only 14 kilometres of route length whereas the neighbouring State, West Bengal, has 43 kilometres. In Bihar, it is more than 30 kilometres. In Andhra Pradesh, it is 20 kilometres. In other places, like Gujarat, it is 27.15 kilometres per thousand square kilometre. Haryana has 33 kilometre per square kilometre and so on and so forth.

What is the demand of the people of Orissa? I know that it is a Supplementary Budget. I am reminding the hon. Minister to take care of it in the ensuing Budget. What is our grievance? Our grievance is: please bring us to the level of national average. The national average is 19 kilometres per thousand square kilometre of area and it is just not a demand of share. It is commercially urgent and socially necessary. This has not been done so far.

Since a sister of Orissa is occupying the Chair of this august office, I hope that Orissa will get its due share.

I want to remind this House that from 1980-1994, that is, for 15 years, a length of only 20 kilometres of railway line was laid in Orissa. The percentage change is only 1.6 in 15 years, whereas in West Bengal, the percentage of increase was 8.1. The absolute increase over these 15 years was 100 kilometres. Similarly, in Andhra Pradesh, the change is 22.9 per cent or an increase of 282 kilometres and so on and so forth.

My point is that we - the people of Orissa - have been tolerating it. In the words of Lord Curzon, the people of Orissa are a docile class and an innocent class. We have not revolted. We have not agitated nor we have placed our Demands rightly in this House because of which we have been neglected.

I hope that hereafter and in the 21st century, Orissa would not be neglected.

Sir, I have a few suggestions to make. Firstly, in 1996, a new Zone known as `East Coast Railway Zone' was created. Now, four years have elapsed but nothing has happened, no progress has been made. The people of Orissa want that within three years' time, there should be a full-fledged zone. I hope that the hon. Railway Minister will look into this matter.

MR. CHAIRMAN : Shri Kanungo, we are not debating the whole Railway Budget. We are debating only the Supplementary Railway Budget.

SHRI TRILOCHAN KANUNGO : Sir, I would mention another two or three points. Within a minute, I will conclude.

Secondly, there should be a plan with a time bound programme to bring Orissa to the level of national average so far as railway route per thousand square kilometre of area is concerned. It should be done within a period of seven years from now.

Thirdly, the Government should take up the land acquisition and construction work of Khurda Road-Bolangir Railway route in right earnest so as to complete the work within a period of five years.

Lanjigarh Road-Junagarh Rail route project of 54 kilometres is in the most backward districts of Orissa. Adequate funds should be provided in the ensuing budget for the completion of the project within two years' time.

Daitari-Banspani Railway route has been demanded since 1950s and the people of Orissa have been hearing sympathetic sweet words from the Centre since the year 1964, but of no avail. We demand that Daitari-Banspani Railway route should be taken up and completed as quickly as possible.

Angul-Sukinda Rail route deserves immediate attention of the Railway Ministry. At least a sum of Rs. 100 crore should be provided in the ensuing Railway Budget.

Haridaspur-Paradeep Railway route of 78 kilometres of length is another priority area which should be looked at in right earnest.

Last but not the least is the conversion of narrow gauge to broad gauge. During the last 52 years of Independence, nearly 8,000 kilometres of gauge conversion was effected in India but not a single kilometre of gauge conversion from narrow gauge to broad gauge was done in Orissa. I would request the hon. Railway Minister, through you, Sir, to convert the narrow gauge lines, Rupsa-Bangiriposhi and Naupada to Gunupur via Parala Khemundi to broad gauge lines. These two narrow gauge lines should be converted to broad gauge lines quickly.

These are all our just and reasonable demands. I hope that the hon. Railway Minister will take care of these demands in the ensuing Budget.

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SHRI ANNASAHEB M.K. PATIL (ERANDOL): I rise here to support the Supplementary Demands for Grants (Railways) for the year 1999-2000. It has been observed that because of the negligence on the part of Railways, the problem of pollution has come up. You will see that for the last 50 years, only 10 per to 15 per cent of railways development, either in the way of new one or modified one or constructed one, has come up. But if it had come in a planned way as it has done in other sections, I think this problem of pollution would have been reduced or much more avoided.

There are about 12 million passengers travelling in the railways. The problem of pollution in the city of Mumbai where Daily, about five million people travel through trains. There will be much less of pollution problem compared to the problem in cities like Delhi and other places.

Sir, these demands are for various new developments, particularly manning of unmanned level crossings. It is so meagre. Out of 24,313 unmanned level crossings, only 469 are going to be manned. The amount is very meagre and less. It cannot cope up to the required aim which would certainly avoid the loss of human lives in particular as a safety and security measure.

Sir, there are three unmanned crossings in my constituency which should also be looked into.

Sir, again, some of the new developmental activities, such as internet based enquiry systems have to be incorporated in this Budget and this would be helpful to the Railways . As far as upgradation of passenger amenities to the 48 stations is concerned, I think, it is very less compared to the requirement of the country. Actually, it should have been much more than what it is. So, on behalf of the people from my constituency and through you, Sir, I request the hon. Minister to consider these amenities particularly in my constituency at Dharangaon and other stations where there is not even provision for drinking water to the passengers. During the sunny days, it is very hot and it is difficult for them to stand over there.

Similarly, as far as providing the mobile communication between the driver, guard and station master is concerned, this would certainly provide a better service. You might have read in the newspapers that there were earlier two accidents occurred in my constituency because of miscommunication or lack of communication.

Sir, there are a number of things which have already been taken into account in this Budget. One of the items is about the upgradation of stations. Only 67 stations are going to be upgraded in which there is no station from my constituency. Sir, through you, I would request the hon. Minister to include at least one station out of four stations, that is, either at Chalisgaon, Pachora, Dharangaon or Amalner. The hon. Minister has already planned for 40 stations to be upgraded. Therefore, my humble request to the hon. Minister is that at least one of the stations should be included in this upgradation programme.

MR. CHAIRMAN : Please conclude.

SHRI ANNASAHEB M.K. PATIL : Sir, as you said that the time is short, I can give in writing to the hon. Minister about some of the issues, particularly in my area.

SHRI P.H. PANDIYAN (TIRUNELVELI): Sir, thank you very much for having given me this opportunity to participate in the discussion on Supplementary Demands for Grant of the Ministry of Railways. I support the Demands and I need your support for my constituency, for my district and also for the State.

In Tirunelveli and Tuticorin Districts, there are certain demands in the Supplementary Demand for Grant of the Railways. In the Tuticorin V.O.C. District, there are three railway gates.

For the last 40-50 years, the whole traffic comes to a standstill during peak hours and the people are not able to pass through that gate for about three hours. Tuticorin is a pearl city. It is a place for import and export. There is a harbour and there is a Port Trust. So, I would request the Minister to sanction three pedestrian over-bridges at gates number 1, 2 and 3 in V.O. Chidambarnar district. Similarly, near Tirunelveli Junction, there is a gate. That also remains closed for three to four hours daily. The whole city has come to a standstill. So, I appeal to the hon. Minister to sanction a pedestrian over-bridge at Tachanallur and also at Palayankottai-Kulavanigarpuram. The most important demand is that there is no Maintenance Division in Tirunelveli and, as such, all the trains have been enrouted to Trivandrum for the fit-line. So, a Fit-line Division must be sanctioned by the hon. Minister. Also, there is no Service Station and there is no Maintenance Division. So, also in Tirunelveli district. From Tirunelveli to Chenkottai, the metre gauge should be converted into broad gauge. Generally, there is no two-line system from Villupuram to Tirunelveli or Tuticorin. From Villupuram to Tuticorin-Tirunelveli, it is about 450 kilometres. There is no two-line system. If there is another line, one train could come to Chennai from Tuticorin within eight hours. Now it takes fourteen hours. So also from Villupuram to Tirunelveli. It takes 14 hours. So, to minimise the time, the hon. Minister should sanction another line from Villupuram to Tuticorin and Tirunelveli. It will be of great help to both the districts. It will cover both Tuticorin and Tirunelveli. I, on behalf of my district and my constituency, appeal to the Minister to sanction some new trains, such as, Tuticorin to Dindigul-Karur-Salem-Bangalore, Tuticorin to Mumbai and Tuticorin to Chennai.

AN HON. MEMBER: Tuticorin to Calcutta also.

SHRI P.H. PANDIYAN : Yes, Tuticorin to Calcutta also. If the hon. Minister sanctions a train from Tirunelveli to Calcutta, we welcome that. We also want to go to Calcutta direct. In all the districts, there is only one ticket counter. People are not able to get the tickets quickly. In Tuticorin also, there is only one counter. The Minister can see this photograph published in a vernacular daily. Same is the case from Nagerscoil to Guruvayur. There is already a train running from Madurai to Guruvayur. It is on the time-table of the Railways but it is not running. There are Christians and Muslims in Malapalayam which is near Tirunelveli Junction. During Haj pilgrimage, lots of people have to enter the train from Malapalayam. So, the train may be allowed to stop at Malapalayam to take the pilgrims. So also from Kanyakumari to Tirupati if a new train is allowed to run, people will go to that sacred place. So, they need a train from Kanyakumari to Tirupati.

I now come to the general points. The tickets are sold through travel agents. All the tickets are being purchased by the travel agents. People have to go to the travel agents and they are charging more money. There are umpteen number of travel agents throughout the State and throughout India. All the travel agents purchase A.C. class tickets, first-class tickets and they purchase even the sleeper class tickets. All the passengers have to purchase tickets only through the travel agents and they have to pay more. Instead of it, you can increase the trains and you can directly sell the tickets to the people.

MR. CHAIRMAN : Shri Pandiyan, please conclude now.

SHRI P.H. PANDIYAN: Sir, we are ten Members and I am speaking on behalf of all.

MR. CHAIRMAN : I know that. Your time has already exhausted.

SHRI P.H. PANDIYAN : Sir, there is one request from the Deputy Leader of our Party.

MR. CHAIRMAN : Your party is given four minutes. You have taken more than ten minutes.

SHRI P.H. PANDIYAN : For four minutes, I have obtained 13 lakh votes. ...(Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN : The time allotted for the discussion for the Supplementary Demands for Grants for Railways is only four hours. According to the time limitation, we have to conclude it.

SHRI P.H. PANDIYAN : Sir, while the Railway authorities are keen in the process of converting metre-gauge lines into broad-gauge lines, I am unable to understand why an important link from Tiruchirapalli to Manamadurai enabling passengers to reach Rameshwaram is not considered. It is a most important request to the hon. Minister. The people prefer Railways. It is a one-way train track and there is no likelihood of accidents. People do not prefer bus travel. Now there are no buses in Tamil Nadu. All the buses are in the sheds. They are under repair. I appeal to the hon. Minister to sanction more trains to cater to the needs of the public. ...(Interruptions) The private omnibuses and private vans are plying. To cater to the needs of the public, the hon. Minister may sanction more trains.

I would appeal to the hon. Minister to upgrade certain district stations. I am very happy to see that the hon. Minister has upgraded Madurai, Chennai and Tiruchirapalli stations. I would appeal to the hon. Minister to upgrade the Tuticorin station as a model station because it is a port city and an ancient city where the freedom fighter, V.O. Chidambaranar was born and where Swadeshi ship was driven by V.O. Chidambaranar. There is no broad-gauge platform in Tuticorin. You have proposed upgradation of passenger amenities in 48 new stations. I would appeal to the hon. Minister to include Tirunelveli in that. It is also round the corner. It is an important place. It connects all the pilgrimage places. I appeal to the hon. Minister to sanction all these schemes because people are expecting more from the Railway Ministry.


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