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Mangalore: The railway authorities has extended the services of train no. 16517/16518 Yeshwantpur-Mangalore Express night train to Kannur (Cannanore), overriding the popular demand to extend it to Karwar in Uttara Kannada.
However, according to the data available with Udupi-Chikmagalur MP K Jayaprakash Hegde, the average passenger traffic in the train from Mangalore to Kannur and vice versa is less than what the railways had predicted. While on an average 32 people travel in the train from Mangalore to Kannur, 36 passengers take the train on its return to the coastal city. The passenger traffic in the night train to Mangalore is 511 while coming and 517 in the reverse direction.
Based on the data and a representation by the Railway Hithrakshana Samiti in the coast, Hegde has written to minister of state for railways KH Muniyappa requesting him to take steps to divert the train to Karwar, which is about 250 km from here.
The train was extended to Kannur in January 2010. At that time, Muniyappa had supported the railways' move saying that since the railways was a national asset, questions should not be raised on extending the train to Kannur. "The move was taken in view of revenue generation," he had said.
According to Hegde, the minister's claims have fallen flat as the statistics tell a different story. In his letter to Muniyappa, Hedge said, "The extension of the train to Kannur is a breach of trust. The state government along with the Indian Railways has created a SPV called HMRDC (Hassan Mangalore Railway Development Company) and invested 41% in it. After the completion of the project, instead of fulfilling the promise given to the state which funded the project, the railways obliged to the demands of a state (Kerala).''