“Special trains …. are provided on Full Tariff Rates keeping in view the operational feasibility”

The 131 birth anniversary of Mahakavi Subramania Bharathi was celebrated on Wednesday. While school students took upon themselves the onus of propagating the works of the national poet, the Railway Board had reportedly not responded favourably to a request for operating a special exhibition train dedicated to the great poet.

Bharathiyar Thinkers Forum (BTF) in the city had sent a representation to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in April, seeking operation of a special exhibition train. The forum had sought for a five-coach train exhibiting Bharathi’s Tamil poems with English translation, his cartoons and other literary works created during the colonial era.

Thereafter, on August 31, it made an application to the PMO under the Right to Information Act and sought to know the status of the representation. The PMO forwarded the application to the Railway Board. Replying to it on November 11, the Board said the representation sent to the PMO was merely a suggestion and did not come within the purview of the RTI Act.

Ravi Mohan Sharma, one of the Directors of the Railway Board, said: “Special trains on demand in favour of a party, organisation, trust, etc., on specific route and date are provided on Full Tariff Rates keeping in view the operational feasibility and availability of required coaching stock. The Chief Transport Manager of Zonal Railways is competent to plan such a special train.”

Shocked with such a reply, R. Lakshminarayanan, secretary, BTF, said: “It is disheartening to see how officials are treating a freedom fighter and literary giant who aroused patriotic feelings among the masses by his writings. We have no words to express our disappointment.”

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