The use of water in the train coaches for the purpose of bathing by Ayyappa devotees often leads to water shortage, the railway administration has said on Tuesday.

Responding to the protest by a group of Ayyappa devotees at the Erode railway station on Monday demanding adequate water supply in the coaches, the railway administration said the water provided in coaches was meant only for hand wash, and toilet use.

Every rail coach consists of four water tanks of 400-litre capacity each. The water is filled at the Chennai Central and again refilled at the Erode junction.

“This is more than sufficient to take care of the normal needs of the passengers,” a release from the Railways said.

The Ayyappa devotees, however, wake up early in the morning and take bath in the coaches itself. This practice leads to water shortage in the coaches, the release pointed out.

Denying the allegation that Railways failed to make necessary arrangements to tackle the heavy rush, the release said, “the problem of water shortage arises only during the Sabarimala season. Even though there is a heavy rush of passengers during other seasons such as Deepavali, New Year, Pongal, which at times, is more than the Sabarimala season, the complaint of water shortage does not arise at all.”


The railway administration appealed to the Sabarimala devotees to understand the fact that water supply provided in coaches was not for bathing purpose.

The administration also observed that a few devotees were found lighting camphor inside the train compartments for their morning prayers. They should realise that it could become fatal as camphor was highly inflammable and even a small piece of camphor was dangerous enough to ignite a massive fire, the release said and asked the devotees not to use it.