The government has decided to terminate the Angamaly-Sabari railway line at Erumeli instead of Azhutha to avoid the buffer zone of the Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR) and to reduce the cost of putting Sabarimala on the railway map.
An official notification said Railways had suggested avoiding the buffer zone while deciding the alignment of the proposed line. It had been pointed out that Azhutha was just one km away from PTR and was well within the buffer zone. Also, the terrain was hilly and involved deep cutting and required several tunnels.
Erumeli had better road access to Pampa. Hence, the proposed line from Erumeli to Azhutha would be of use only to those pilgrims who would go to Sabarimala from Azhutha by foot.