Commuters and train travellers from Karur have red flagged the lackadaisical attitude of the Southern Railway authorities towards improving facilities at the railway junction here. Their charter of demands only reflects the need of the hour. The announcement of Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee regarding the operation of Karur-Tiruchi-Karur DEMU service was not being implemented fully with the service remaining non-operational on Sundays.
The reduction in the number of unreserved coaches in Karaikal-Ernakulam Express and Mysore-Mayiladuthurai Express from eight to just three has troubled passengers no end. In particular those trying to board the train en route these destinations find it hard to get a toehold in the cramped unreserved coaches.
The authorities must immediately restore the number of unreserved coaches to eight, demands Karur District Train Travellers’ Welfare Association president S.Annadurai. Likewise we have been insisting that there must be two counters each to cater to reserved and unreserved ticket seekers. There is just one counter in the junction and the misery of those who rush in to get the ticket at the eleventh hour is horrible to say the least. The trouble of women and the elderly is all the more worrisome and to lessen their agony the authorities must establish two counters each, Mr.Annadurai adds.
The two-wheeler parking lot at the junction collects payment on 12-hour basis and in these days when people go to work in far-off locations, the concept betrays grasp of the situation. When in most of the junctions, the lessees charge on 24-hour basis, the Railways needs to rein in the one at Karur junction to change the system as the commuters are fleeced, Mr.Annadurai notes.
Railways must do everything possible to launch passenger and freight service on the much-delayed Karur-Salem new broad gauge line before the end of the year. The authorities must not delay the commencement of operations any further, the association members demand.
All express trains passing the Karur-Tiruchi stretch must halt at Sithalavai station as the area had become a major hub of activity and could serve over 50,000 population in the region that spans not just Karur district but also the Kattuputhur-Thottiam-Musiri zone of Tiruchi district that does not have rail connectivity as the barrage-cum-bridge under construction at Mayanur is fast nearing completion to facilitate crossing of the Cauvery and reach Sithalavai.
To make railways take notice of Karur as a major railway hub, Karur must be made a train watering point, a move that would in one stroke end the acute drinking water scarcity at the station and allow breathing space to develop the junction as a major railway point to cater to trains towards Salem, Coimbatore, Tiruchi, and Madurai, association secretary M.Gunasekaran adds. To draw the attention of the Railways to their demands the association staged a demonstration in front of the junction, which received support from all political parties.