Language policy in Indian Railways (cont'd)

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Mon Dec 25 19:30:11 UTC 2006

Date:25/12/2006 URL:

`Project Unigauge' likely to be included in the 11th plan

Staff Correspondent

20 per cent of rail lines yet to be converted into broad gauge

BIG PLANS: Union Minister of State for Railways R. Velu addressing the
press in Hubli on Sunday. Revenue Minister Jagadish Shettar (left) and
General Manager of South Western Railway Trilok Nath Perti are seen.

HUBLI: The Railways has plans to include the proposal to bring the entire
rail network in country under broad gauge in the 11th Five Year Plan,
Minister of State for Railways R. Velu has said.  Addressing presspersons
after laying the foundation stone for the new Hubli Railway Station
Complex here on Sunday, he said 20 per cent of the railway lines in the
country were still under metr egauge and narrow gauge. He said that of the
63,000 km of railway lines in the country about 13,000 km was under metre
gauge. And steps were being taken under the "Project Unigauge" for gauge
conversion, he added.

The Minister said that Karnataka was better placed compared with Tamil
Nadu with regard to broad gauge railway lines. He said of the 4,000 km of
railway lines that pass through the State, 1,800 km was under metre gauge.
To a question, Mr. Velu said there was no proposal to shift the Railway
Recruitment Board (RRB) from Bangalore to Hubli, the headquarters of South
Western Railway. He said it was not mandatory that the RRB office should
be at the headquarters of the zone concerned.

Favourable order

Regarding the recent order on keeping name boards on train only in English
and Hindi and giving exemption to the rule in Tamil Nadu, the Minister
clarified that Tamil was given exemption as there was no three-language
policy in Tamil Nadu. Clarifying that the Railways was not against
Kannada, he said the Ministry was trying to pass a favourable order in
this regard. Keeping Kannada name boards on trains that run within the
State was also being contemplated, he said. Mr. Velu clarified that the
issue of giving clearance to Hubli-Ankola railway line was before the
Supreme Court's Empowerment Committee. Asked why the work had been stopped
when the Empowerment Committee had not given a stay, the Minister said the
work in forest areas could not be undertaken unless a clearance was
obtained from the committee.

On why the work on the project in the non-forest area had also been
stopped, Trilok Nath Perti, General Manager of South Western Railway,
clarified that unless the entire project got the clearance, even work in
non-forest areas could not be continued.

Bagalkot-Gadag line

Mr. Perti said the State Government had to pay only Rs. 9 crore towards
the gauge conversion work on Bagalkot-Gadag line. It had remitted the
remaining amount. He said the Railways was planning to complete the work
by October 2007.


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