Akhil Bharatha Ayyappa Seva Sangham urge announcement of Spl.Trains to Sabarimala

सबरिमला SABARIMALA:  With hardly 40 days left for the start of the annual Sabarimala pilgrimage season, concerns have been raised against lack of adequate rail transport facility for the scores of pilgrims, especially from neighbouring states.

Akhila Bharatha Ayyappa Seva Sangham (ABASS) has urged the Railway Ministry for the announcing special trains at the earliest to facilitate the pilgrims to make advance reservations and bookings.

ABASS vice-president D Vijayakumar told that the indifferent attitude of the railway authorities will lead to hardships for pilgrims, especially from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Last year special trains were announced just one week before the start of the season.

He also urged that Railways should expeditiously announce Sabari Rail Project (Angamali-Erumeli Sabari rail alignment) so that it will serve majority of pilgrims across the country coming to Sabarimala.

Extension of Trains

Vijayakumar said the railway authorities should extend the special trains upto Kollam as the number of platforms and shunting yards are inadequate at Chengannur station, considered the gateway to the shrine.

As two-thirds of the aggregate number of pilgrims prefer Chengannur station, the authorities should provide additional facilities like resting place, toilets and bathrooms at the station.

The platforms at Chengannur station are poorly illuminated and yet to be fully covered with roofs.

The Sangham has demanded new railway line linking Chengannur with Pampa, passing through Aranmula, Kattoor, Ranni, Vadasserikara, Perunad, Kanamala and Valiyanavattom. Vijayakumar said though a survey was conducted by the Railway Ministry, no follow-up action was taken till date.

New KSRTC Service

Vijayakumar urged the KSRTC authorities to deploy new buses for Pampa special service. Though the KSRTC has done a commendable job last season, majority of buses were old ones arranged from other bus stations, causing large number of break-downs, he said.

The KSRTC authorities should take stern steps to prevent fleecing of pilgrims by hoteliers at Laha and Vadasseikara where the buses halt near the hotels for taking food items, he said.

There are allegations that some bus drivers and conductors are offered free food and even money by the hoteliers for halting buses near their restaurants.