They urge the railways to introduce a new train between Karaikudi and Chennai

Condemning the Railway Ministry’s announcement on the extension of the Chennai – Tiruchi – Chennai Pallavan Express to Karaikudi, representatives of consumer and service organisations observed fast here on Sunday demanding that the train be operated from Tiruchi itself. The day-long token fast observed in front of the Railway Junction was called by the Federation of Consumer and Service Organisations, which urged the Railway Ministry to give up its decision of extending the superfast Pallavan Express to Karaikudi.

Without disturbing the existing service, the federation said the Railways could instead operate a new train from Karaikudi to Chennai and back as this would be more beneficial to the people of that town.

The decision to observe fast was taken unanimously at an emergency meeting called by the federation a few days ago here following Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal’s announcement while presenting the Railway Budget 2013-14 on February 26.

Many express trains originating from Tiruchi such as the Rockfort, Ernakulam, Jan Shatabdhi and Tea Garden Express were extended to places such as Mayiladuthurai, Kumbakonam, and Karaikal over the years and the superfast Pallavan Express was the latest to join that list, the federation members said.

The federation condemned the railway administration for having stopped trains that were being operated from Tiruchi and for extending many trains originating from Tiruchi to different destinations. It charged the railway administration with meting out injustice to the people of Tiruchi by its decision of extending the trains.

The federation has decided to stage a “rail roko” agitation as its next course of action if the railway administration failed to heed the demand of the Tiruchiites that the Pallavan Express should not be extended to Karaikudi, its president M. Sekaran said.

The federation had planned to approach the court seeking redressal on this issue, he added.