The Zonal Dream Of Railway Kerala
There are multiple reasons for the state not receiving its own railway zone; some from outside and a few home-bred ones | By Mukesh Venu
On Aug 22, 2012

At present there are 16 railway zones in India. Kerala belongs to the fifth largest of them all, the Southern Railway Zone, headquartered at Chennai. The Southern Railway Zone comprises of the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu and has six divisions – Chennai, Trichy, Madurai, Palakkad, Salem, and Trivandrum. The Trivandrum division with the Trivandrum Central Railway Station consists of the second busiest rail terminal in the Southern Railway Zone and is also the most profit making division for the South Zone.


The Palakkad Railway Division used to be one of the biggest divisions of the southern railway. But since then, the divisions of Trivandrum and Salem have been carved out of it, drastically lessening its size. The long-standing demand of the state is to have a railway zone of its own, headquartered at Trivandrum. The formation of a zone with its headquarters within the state would go great lengths in speeding up the railway developmental projects of the state.




However, the job is easier said than done. The proposal from the state was to create a west coast zone extending from Kanyakumari up to Madgaon in the Konkan region. The creation of such a railway zone will see that the funds allocated in the budget are directly received by the state to be utilised for its developmental works. Currently, the state lies at the mercy of the authorities in Chennai to receive its share of funds and the diversion of the money to other projects outside the state is not so uncommon either.


The creation of a zone for Kerala involves regions outside Kerala and these regions have the same issues about joining a separate Kerala zone, as the state does, in being part of a zone headquartered someplace else. Tamil Nadu has been extra vigilant in this regard. To prevent loss of their interest to a possible zone for Kerala, they tactically created a Salem division by cutting the Palakkad Division almost into half. Now the demand is being made to get the railway stations of Nagercoil and Kanyakumari excluded from the Trivandrum division, citing the neglect of these stations under the division.


In Karnataka, moves are on to separate Mangalore from the Palakkad division and have it joined with the Mysore division to prevent being part of the Kerala zone. At this rate at which the kilometers of tracks and the number of stations that come under the two divisions in Kerala are dwindling, the probability of the divisions of Palakkad and Trivandrum being merged together to have the entire state restricted inside a division is now very real.

Kerala is the only state holding a major position in the railway map of India, without a zone headquartered within its boundaries. The geographical location of the state being tucked away to a side in the south-western portion of the Indian peninsula is one of the prime reasons for the state not receiving a zone for itself. Just as much as other states want no part of their regions getting lost to a Kerala zone, the present Southern Railway Zone, with its head-office at Chennai, does not want to lose the prospective revenue generation through goods movement from the two major ports of Mangalore and Kochi .




The state has always been at the receiving end of the lobbying by other states since they have better representation at the central ministry. But the blame is not all theirs. The indifference on the part of the representatives from Kerala in taking up stiff measures for gaining an increased share for the state in the annual railway budget is just as much to be blamed as the others.


The Palakkad coach factory, whose construction was inaugurated on February this year by the then Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi, is lagging at a snail's pace. The construction of the Sabari rail, which was announced almost fifteen years ago, is yet to take off. With the existing lines and stations getting over-saturated with traffic, the state is losing numerous trains to other states for not being able to accommodate the additional ones.


It is true that for a more fruitful realization of the state's demand regarding railways, the formation of a zone headquartered at Trivandrum is essential. But the odds stacked against it are simply overwhelming – politically, economically, strategically and geographically. The long-standing dream of Kerala’s railway community is fated to remain merely a dream for now.


image courtesy: articlewn.com


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Excellent article. I've some suggestions, but I strongly believe Kerala lacks a leader who can stand and make things happen.
Admin Of Railkerala.org, on Aug 27, 2012 10:03:41 PM
there is so many train services operating ,via shoranur- from trvm ,from ernakulam,from mangalore - but the authority is not giving time table for that .the zonal people need the income from other states contributions.There is nothing such good for the new zonal ,waste
Michael, on Aug 28, 2012 11:43:41 AM
Kanyakumari College Lecturer facing Paining Experience in Trivandrum Division **************************************** We had planned for a North India Tour to Amritsar, Manali, Chandigarh, Delhi and Agra using 5 trains of Indian Railway thru Students Railway Concession scheme. For that, we went to Nagercoil railway station. They told us to get a sign from Trivandrum divisional office. We went there. There, the malayalees made us to uncare. WORST Experiences, I had over there. In TVM office, they are purposefully doing politics. We felt much. Then, we changed our schedules and had the trains Why dont we have Nagercoil under Madurai?
Edward, on Sep 16, 2012 04:03:12 PM
Mr. Edward, College Lecturer from Kanyakumari, Read your complaint about the discriminative behavior at Trivandrum Railway Divisional Office.I am a Railway Trade union Official.Please sent a complaint with whatever evidence you have to DREU/CITU either at nagarcoil or trivandrum .We look into and reply you.M.Jaffarkutty
M.Jaffarkutty, on Dec 03, 2012 07:12:55 PM
If kerala want a zone specifically for itself then they should also willing to give the lines which are under its division but belong to other states geographically.
George C, on Jan 03, 2013 11:09:40 AM
HQ must be in Kochi not in TVC.
Matt, on Apr 12, 2013 12:14:56 PM
Real development in rail transport would happen only when the rail lines and trains are organized more rationally within the States encouraging more people to opt for rail transportation. In the name of national outlook, trains normally starts from one obscure place in a corner of the country to another obscure place without really serving people. Substantial movement of people normally happens only within States who have to depend on Bus services which can never be compared with train services in terms of convenience and cost of travel. in fact, in every State there is a strong bus lobby which continuously sabotages rail network being developed. As Kerala is having many real and perceived grievances and complaints against Southern Railway Zone based at Chennai, one way of solving the problem would be shifting the Zonal Headquarter either to Ernakulum or Thiruvananthapuram. But such a proposition would not find favour in Tamilnadu as the Railway Headquarter is already there. Besides, it is generally known whether it is doubling of lines, electrification, it is Kerala which has been accorded highest priority during 1980's and 90's thanks to many influential officials from Kerala serving in Railway Board and Southern Railway Headquarters during the period. On the other side, even the chord line connecting south and north of Tamilnadu where four of it's biggest cities situated is still a single line and yet to be fully electrified. There is strong resentment that railway development in Coimbatore has tossed out of the window to facilitate the speedy movement of trains by bye passing Coimbatore which is in fact second biggest city in the entire southern Railway. Same is the case with people in Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari District who feel discriminated and neglected by Thiruvananthapuram Division. In fact, the original arrangement at the time of creation of new line between Kanyakumari to Thiruvananthapuram in 70’s was to transfer the line to Madurai Division for administrative convenience which has never happened so far and the line is still under Thiruvananthapuram Division. Kerala feels cheated because Salem Division was created by carving out of Palakkad Division but real history is that it was Pothanur Davison (Coimbatore) which was shifted to Palakkad during 1950’s thanks to Kerala’s influence in the Centre during that period. The sense of discrimination and neglect is mutual and complete between Kerala and Tamilnadu as far as Railway development is concerned and hence there is no reason why Kerala should be continuously under Southern Railway Zone? and for that matter why would lines in Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari District to be under Thiruvananthapuram Division.and part of Pollachi-Coimbatore line to be with Palakkad Division? Above all, Kerala rightfully feels that it generates bulk of the income for Southern Railway owing to Cochin Port and Mangalore Port and it should not be under the mercy or beg for funds from the so called masters based at Southern Railway Headquarters at Chennai and it also rightfully feels that decision making authority should be within its boundaries to serve the State better. Given the situation, the best way to move forward is to re-organize Southern Railway Zone into Southern Railway and Peninsular Railway. Southern Railway should cover entire Tamilnadu with New Railway Division based at Tirunelveli (out of Thiruvananthapuram and Madurai Division) and Hosur (out of Bangalore Division of South Western Railway and Salem Division) in addition to the existing Chennai, Salem, Trichy and Madurai Railway Divisions. Peninsular Railway Zone covering entire Kerala with New Railway Divisions at Ernakulum and at Kozhikode, in addition to the existing Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad Railway Divisions. New Mangalore Division must be created and merged with South Western Railway. The rules with regard to minimum number of divisions in case of formation of a new Railway Zone; and minimum kilometre line in case of formation of a new Railway Division need not be applied to Kerala considering its geographical peculiarity and higher density of population. It may sound, regional or myopic approach to many people which is not actually the case and organizing Railway Zones and Divisions in line with State boundaries would in no way compromise national integrity, after all linguistic States are provided in the Constitution of India and Parliament has the power to alter the boundaries of State at its discretion.
Raja Guru, on Jan 16, 2014 08:04:02 PM
You Kerala people Create a new zone, but please exclude Kuzhithurai West to melapalayam from trivandrum division. you people always discriminate tamils. if you create with these boundary definitely we will fall under the hell of malayalees. we dont need direct connection with kerala. we have lot of place in tamil nadu and our capital is chennai so we need connectivity route through tirunelveli. Thank you.
Ebenezer, on Jun 23, 2014 04:53:40 PM
Hey,Ebenzer,u think we r discriminating u tamils?well,ur great masters at chennai divert coaches and projects meant for tvc and pgt divisions to divisions in TN.we r being discriminated by tamils.most night trains in tn have AC first class.but,not in kerala.trains in tn get wap7(highly powerful electric locomotive class)but kerala doesnt get them.coaches sent to chennai come back dirty or are stolen.sr and tn people give us step motherly treatment.if u people cant treat us equally,then,give us a seperate railway zone named West Coast Railway(W.CoR)
Manu Eldho, on Apr 28, 2015 11:58:11 AM
Please note that the geographical area of Tamilnadu is almost twice as that of kerala.It will be better for Tamilnadu and kerala to have a separate zone.At the same time kerala should be ready to give up the jurisdiction of tamilnadu railway stations which are presently under the control of either Trivandrum division or Palghat division to Tamilnadu railway divisions.If keralites want both creation of seperate zone as well as control of the tamilnadu railway stations mentioned above, then it is unfair on the part of kerala .If kerala agrees for this mutual understanding, then tamilnadu will not oppose to the kerala's proposal for a new zone
ARULRAJ, on Mar 20, 2016 01:30:22 PM
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