High drama at Uzhavan Express inauguration leaves one dead
It was a high drama at Thanjavur Railway Junction on Sunday night during the inauguration of the Thanjavur-Chennai Uzhavan Express as activists of both the DMK, AIADMK gathered with their respective party flags, claiming credit for the new train. In the melee, one of them standing atop the diesel loco of the train fell down and died.
The divisional railway administration had made arrangements for a simple function and invitations were sent to elected representatives of the district, including R Vaithilingam, Minister for Housing and S S Palanimanickam, DMK MP of Thanjavur Lok Sabha constituency.
As both had intimated that they would be participating in the function, functionaries of both the parties gathered in strength at the Railway Junction.
As Vaithilingam arrived, the activists of AIADMK climbed on the diesel locomotive of the train where DMK supporters were already standing. Even as the cadre from opposition camps shouted slogans, Palanimanickam also arrived at the spot.
Amid the din, one of the men, who climbed atop the train fell down and was sent to the Thanjavur Medical College Hospital, where he was declared brought dead. Aged around 40 years, the deceased wore a jeans, police said. Neither his party affiliation nor his identity was clear at the time of going to the press.
Meanwhile, the train left the railway junction at the scheduled time of 8.45 pm with both Vaithilingam and Palanimanickam along with Manjula Rangarajan, Divisional Railway Manager who flagged it off.
Later, talking to reporters, Manjula Rangarajan said the train has 18 coaches of which 17 coaches are brand new ones. She added that the train would have a total passenger capacity of 1,288. of these 648 are second class sleeper berths, 66 are second AC berths, 64 berths 3rd AC, 10 first AC berths and 440 unreserved seats, she added. The new coaches are fitted with bio-toilets which would be emptied automatically mid-way when the train was running at full speed, she added. She appealed to the passengers not to throw wastes like plastic cups and tetra packs which would block the discharge of the wastes.