TIRUCHY: There is simmering discontent among rail-users after Tiruchy Division increased the price of platform ticket to `20 at important railway stations in its jurisdiction. Officials in the Tiruchy junction said the price revision would be in force for two months and said the objective was better crowd control as the annual festival was set to begin in Velankanni, which would see huge crowds travel from Tiruchy.
The Tiruchy Division on Tuesday issued the notification that to regulate rush and unauthorised entry into the railway stations, the price of platform tickets at Tiruchy Junction, Velankanni, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Kumbakonam and Thanjavur Railway stations has been increased from `10 to `20 with effect from Wednesday at Tiruchy Junction and from August 15 at other stations.
The revised price would be effective from Wednesday to September 30 at Tiruchy Railway Station; and from August 15 to September 15 at Velankanni, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Kumbakonam and Thanjavur railway stations.The 11-day annual feast of Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Health, popularly called Annai Velankanni Matha, takes place every year in August and September with a huge procession and hoisting of the holy flag. The illuminated and colourful car procession carrying the idol of Our Lady of Health would be held with people from across the country participating in the procession.
Passengers who had come to send off their relatives at the railway station were in for a shock when they were charged `20 for the platform ticket.
Rail users said that nowhere in the country a revision has been made except for Secunderabad, which was made for 10 days to control the rush of Sabarimala passengers.
“The Velankanni festival at Nagapattinam has been going on for ages. The increase this year by the railway is not people-friendly. There are several other ways for the railways to make revenue instead of increasing the platform fee,” said D Sathish Chand, who came for sending his family off on the Guruvayur Express.
Speaking to Express, P Uday Kumar Reddy, the Divisional Railway Manager of the Tiruchy Railway Division, said: “The measure is being carried out on an experimental basis for the benefit of passengers by controlling the crowd.”
Railways to operate special trains to Velankanni
In view of the Velankanni festival, Southern Railway will operate special trains between Chennai and Velankanni. Train No. 06085 will leave Chennai Egmore at 10 45 pm on August 30, September 4 and 6. The train will reach Velankanni at 6.45 am the next day. The return train will leave Velankanni at 10 30 pm on August 31, September 5 and 7, reaching Chennai Egmore at 8.05 am the next day. The train will be have one 2 AC, two 3AC and 12 sleeper class coaches. Railways has also announced the operation of special trains from Chennai Central to Velankanni via Chennai Egmore. Train No. 06087 will leave Chennai Central at 9.50 pm on August 29, 31, September 5 and 7 reaching Velankanni at 6.45 am the next day. The return train will leave Velankanni at 10.30 pm on August 30.