KUMBAKONAM: A museum commemorating the visit of Swami Vivekananda to this temple town on his return from Chicago World Parliament of Religions would be built at the Railway station here, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said today.
Vivekananda gave the message “Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is achieved” after returning to India from Chicago in 1897, he said in commemoration of it the Railways would construct the museum, he said.
Prabhu was speaking after dedicating a host of passenger amenities here and also at Thanjavur and Madurai railway stations through videoconferencing facility.
Vivekananda had come by ship from the U.S to Colombo in Sri Lanka and then reached Pamban near Rameswaram. Enroute to Chennai (then Madras), he had visited Kumbakonam.
The passenger amenities inaugurated by Prabhu included Emergency Medical centre here for ensuring speedy assistance for passengers during exigencies, waiting halls in Thanjavur, and two lifts for the passengers at Madurai Junction.
On the occasion, Prabhu paid rich tributes to late chief minister Jayalalithaa, saying she was a great leader and her passing away was a great loss not only to Tamil Nadu but to the entire nation.
Stating that he was the first Railways Minister to visit the Kumbkonam station, Prabhu said he had decided not to confine himself to Delhi only.
“Delhi is not the entire India and Chennai is not entire Tamil Nadu. We have to go to people to understand the problems. In our country there are 7-8 lakhs villages and we aim to go and meet as many people as possible,” he said.
Noting that lifts and escalators earlier available only at airports were being provided in railway stations now, he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi always insisted on doing things for the benefit of people.
Prabhu said he was looking forward to working with the people of Tamil Nadu and would try to address their problems though there were limitations for Railways in meeting demands.
“The road traffic is growing and the low cost air traffic is growing. With all limitations, we are trying to solve problems and we have started on the path of solving them,” he said.
Observing that he was the only minister depending on the Finance Ministry for funds, Prabhu said he was taking efforts to mobilise funds from external sources.
In the 2017-18 budget, allocation to Tamil Nadu for railway projects had been more than doubled to Rs 2,300 crore, he said adding last year Rs 33 crore was earmarked for passenger amenities.
Earlier, State Agriculture Minister R Doraikannu, local MLAs and MPs presented a memorandum to the Railway Minister on various pending demands.