Monday, March 9, 2015

Confusion reigns as boards display old highway numbers

VISAKHAPATNAM: Befuddling tourists and visitors to the state travelling by road, several signboards on the national highway (NH) passing through the three north coastal Andhra districts still display the old number (NH-5) instead of the revised one (NH-16). The Centre, through a gazette notification, had re-numbered all the national highways three years ago, but the changes are yet to be carried out on most signboards. 

Taking the cyber route to sort out the number confusion is of no help either, what with the website of National Highway Authority of India ( itself showing the Kolkata-Chennai national highway to be still NH-5 instead of NH-16. 

"The NH-5 was renumbered as NH-16, but when I travel along the road I come across several signboards with the old number. This confuses me," said K Srinivas, a B Tech student at a college in Tagarapuvalasa. The NH-16 runs along the country's East Coast from Kolkata to Chennai and passes through the states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, also going through Visakhapatnam city.

Signboards at many places along the 350 km stretch of the NH-16 from Icchapuram in Srikakulam district to Payakaraopeta in Visakhapatnam district still announce it as NH-5. The highway connects areas such as Sompeta, Tekkali, Narasannapeta, Srikakulam and Ranasthalam in Srikakulam district, Poosapatirega and Bhogapuram in Vizianagaram district, and Tagarapuvalasa, Visakhapatnam City, Anakapalle, Yelamanchili and Payakaraopeta in Visakhapatnam district. 

NHAI project director V K Vijaya Sri admitted that some signboards still showed the old number. "We will replace them soon," Vijaya Sri told TOI. "Even officials and politicians do seem to know the new status of the national highway," said a research scholar of Andhra University. "One can easily spot many signboards with the wrong number along the 26 km stretch of the highway in the middle of the city from Hanumanthawaka Junction to Kurmannapalem Junction," he said. Even some websites, including Wikipedia, give the wrong information, he said. TOI found that Wikipedia on Monday showed NH-5 as the national highway between Kolkata and Chennai.


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Visiting Araku Valley by train from Visakhapatnam by Kottavalasa Kirandul line

One of the best way to cover the Araku valley is by going there by Train. This train line is built specially to carry iron ore to Visakhapatnam port from the mineral reserves ofChhattisgarh state. Iron ores fines transported from mines at Bailadilla through this train line to Visakhapatnam port for export and for consumption of Visakhapatnam steel plant. In India most of the hill trains run in a meter gauge or narrow gauge lines but this is a broad gauge line passes through Shimiliguda station which is the highest broad gauge station of India at 996.32 mt above MSL. There is a board at the platform with details of height and saying about the specialty of this station. 

 Ghum station of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is the highest railway station in all types of lines 

This train line passes through 84 bridges and 58 tunnels. This broad gauge electrified line starts from Kottavalasa, a small station located between Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam stations of Howrah and Chennai main line . From Kottavalasa the line takes a left turn ( if you are coming from Visakhapatnam towards Vizianagaram - Howrah ) and connects Kirandul station at the other end. So this line is popularly known as Kottavalasa Kirandul line or KK train line. Train line passes through
 Koraput, Jeypore ( in Orissa ) and Jagdalpur ( Chhattisgarh state ) 

After crossing two small stations , the train starts climbing up the hills through tunnels and bridges. Most of the time valley falls in right side of the train while going towards Araku from Vizag and waterfalls remain at left side. On the way small and big waterfalls can be seen from the train. The green valley and river combination gives a spectacular view from the train. The train passes through tunnels and bridges on its journey. After CHIMIDIPALLI station the water fall comes at left side just after a tunnel. The longest tunnel is 520 meter long. Throughout the hill region of this line patrolling staffs of Indian Railway give clearance to all passing by trains as they continuously monitor the track for any land slide, tree falling or any other type of damages. The train also passes above the Borra caves. As per information from the guide, there is a 100ft thick rock support over the caves above which the tracks are laid. So there is enough protection and security for the train. 

Train Details.
(Check the updated status at Visakahapatanm train Enquiry or from Indian railway website) 

The Kirandul passenger train number is 58501 and in return direction it is 58502 Starts from Visakahaptanm station and most of the time this train starts from platform number 5 , but checkup at inquiry counter at platform no 1 for updated status.

Departure time 6.50 AM from Visakhapatnam station (as on April - 2011) and reaches Araku at 11.00 AM.

There is a special compartment in this train for
 the rail cum road package the rail cum road package tour offered by AP tourism on Araku and Borra caves. Under this package the upward journey from Visakhapatnam is by this train and return trip is by road covering some local tourist places and famous Borra caves.
On return trip this train usually reaches late at Visakhapatnam, you may miss your onward journey train. If you are returning by this train then after visiting Borra Caves you need not travel again to Araku to board the train. Instead catch the train at Borra Cave railway station.

Station Name
Starting Station
Local Station of Vizag
Train leaves the main line & take the KK - line
Hills & Valley starts from here
Be alert for a Waterfall at your left side just after a tunnel
Borra Caves here.
Watch for the board at your right ( at main station building ) saying the height of the station

Visit Indian Railway website to get the information regarding change in time table and stoppages.