Infrastructure development may be stalled in many busy railway stations in Kerala if the union government decides to implement the recommendations of a high-level railway restructuring committee, headed by Bebek Debroy.
The panel has recommended that railways should develop stations that cater to more than 25,000 passengers daily. It also suggested to close down stations that register 50 per cent dip in ticket sales in a two-year period.
If the recommendations are accepted, four railway stations in Kerala - Kozhikode, Thrissur, Ernakulam Junction and Thiruvananthapuram – will be eligible for periodic infrastructure development such as building foot overbridges, lifts and escalators.
This will make many busy stations, including Kannur, Palakkad, Shoranur, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Chengannur and Kollam, ineligible for infrastructure development.
The panel also recommended substantial reduction in the number of train stops.
It is learnt that the railways will submit the recommendations to the Union Ministry soon.
If the central government accepts the proposals, then the railways may end up losing its image as common people's preferred mode of transport.
The railways is also considering whether it should continue with small stations that are run on contracts (stations where there are only ticket sales and cleanliness activities).
Debroy panel had submitted the recommendations five years ago, but the powers-that-be in the railways believe that post lockdown period is the best time to make a fresh start.
It is also considering a proposal to restart only profitable train services after lockdown.