Coimbatore

Plea to rename Erode Railway Junction after Periyar

The minority wing of the District Congress Committee has urged the Railways to rename the Erode Railway Junction after Thanthai Periyar, who had contributed immensely to the growth of railways in the region in the early 19th century.

In a letter to the Chairman of the Railway Board, K.N. Basha, vice-president of the wing and former member of Zonal Railway Users Consultative Committee, said that the Great Southern of Indian Railway Company was established in 1853 with its headquarters in England.

Later, the Carnatic Railway Company was founded and both companies were merged and registered as the South Indian Railway Company with its headquarters at Tiruchi and later moved to Chennai. It proposed to lay tracks from Royapuram in Chennai to Kozhikode in Kerala through Katpadi, Salem, Erode and Coimbatore.

E.V. Ramasamy’s father Venkatappa Nayakar donated his farmland for the project and also sent his workers for helping the contractor to establish the railway station on Vendipalayam Road.

In 1905, when the British proposed to lay tracks from Erode to Tiruchi, the station could not be expanded due to lack of space. The British decided to acquire 300 acres of land that belonged to Annamalai Pillai for establishing a new station and approached him. However, he refused to part with his land. The British sought the help of Periyar’s father, who pacified his friend Annamalai Pillai and the land was sold for ₹1 lakh to the British after which the Erode Railway Junction was established in 1925.

Periyar was the chairman of Erode Municipality from 1917 to 1919 when he named the stretch from Kalaimadu Silai to Diesel Shed after Annamalai Pillai’s son E.M. Muthukumarasamy, a doctor, who died at an early age. The letter said that Periyar was a social activist and politician and is known worldwide.

As a mark of respect to the leader, the district headquarters hospital was named after him already. The letter said that in respecting his contributions for the development of railways, the junction should be renamed as Erode Periyar Railway Junction.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 7:51:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/plea-to-rename-erode-railway-junction-after-periyar/article28527346.ece

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