Faced with less-than-required train services to reach the southern districts, public and businesspersons from Karur and Namakkal districts are expecting the Railways to operate more frequent passenger services connecting the Kongu region with the Pandya territory especially Madurai and Tirunelveli.
There are a couple of trains that originate in Coimbatore and Erode and go up to Madurai, Tirunelveli and Nagercoil. But they are few and far between on any given day. Besides they become full and hardly any space will be there even for the passengers to stand when they reach Karur. Incidentally Namakkal public has to come either to Erode or to Karur to catch those trains. Since the services from Coimbatore touch Tirupur and Erode, junctions where milling crowds troop into the coaches even before they reach the platforms, the existing trains will arrive in Karur bursting at their seams.
Thousands of people from the southern districts are employed in the textile and other industrial units in Coimbatore, Tirupur and Erode. They find it extremely difficult to reach their homes by train and many prefer to endure a painful bus travel standing all the way.
If that is the case for them there, then the plight of workers from Karur and Namakkal is all the more pitiable. By the time they reach Karur junction they would hardly get space to squeeze themselves in the over-crowded trains bound for Madurai and beyond.
The trouble for children, invalid, the elderly as also women and those who travel along with their family is another sordid tale. Every day scenes of a part of the group getting into the train and the other part stranded on the platform outside the moving train is a common episode in Karur junction. After a wrangle with those hanging out of the doorways the remaining either get in or get those already in out of the train hurriedly.
With the extended summer holidays coming to an end the crowds bound for Madurai and the other southern districts are growing and the past few days have seen hectic activity in the Karur bus stand. Even as a bus enters the bus stand crowds surge to get into the coach to get a seat. The Railways had failed to operate adequate summer specials from Coimbatore and Erode to clear the extra rush to the southern districts this time and clearly the application of mind was not there, according to the Karur Train Travellers' Welfare Association president S. Annadurai.
The only noteworthy service is the Chennai-Nagercoil Summer Special via Salem, Erode and Karur. But the reservation begins and ends at Chennai and that service is hardly of any use to the people of the region. People are struggling to reach Nagercoil, Thoothukkudi, Virudhunagar and destinations in the southern parts of the State. Railways could have done something to help the thousands of people from those places working in the Kongu region. Rail users here are also seeking additional coaches in the daily services being operated from out of Coimbatore and Erode to Madurai, Tirunelveli and Nagercoil to ease congestion, Mr. Annamalai points out.