Vaigai Express, Tiruchi Intercity Express delayed as residents stage rail roko
Demanding the scrapping of the proposal, thousands of residents, farmers, workers, traders and members of various political parties blocked Chennai-bound Vaigai Express near Vadamadurai railway station here on Tuesday.
Vaigai Express that reached Vadamadurai level crossing at 8.05 a.m. left the spot at 9.45 a.m. Tirunelveli-bound Tiruchi Intercity Express was stopped at Iyyalur railway station and it left for Tirunelveli from Dindigul at around 10.30 a.m., one and half hours behind schedule.
All shops were closed and autos and taxis were off the road in Vadamadurai in support of the stir.
The agitators thronged the level crossing at 6.30 a.m. and sat on the track. The train was stopped 500 metres away from the railway gate.
Initially, the agitators demanded the presence of the Collector or Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) for discussion.
But Superintendent of Police T. Jayachandran said the DRM was on leave and the Assistant Divisional Railway Manager was prepared to take up the issue with the Railway Board. Suitable reply would be given in 15 days, he announced.
But as the agitators did not oblige, the SP advised party functionaries to convince the local people as the super fast express could not be stopped for long.
The functionaries convinced the local people to withdraw the stir and at around 9.45 a.m., the track was cleared to enable the train to resume its journey.
The worst affected were the train passengers. Some alighted from the train and walked to Vadamadurai bus stand to board buses to Chennai, Tiruchi and Ariyalur.
Vadamadurai Traders Association secretary S. Thiagarajan said Vadamadurai and Iyyalur were major stations next to Manaparai on the Tiruchi—Dindigul section. A proposal to close the 100-year-old British era station building would affect workers and students. Local people had offered lands to lay an 80 feet road connecting NH-45 and the station, he said.
Expansion of platforms for laying the second track and stoppage of Tiruchi-Tirunelveli Intercity Express at Vadamadurai station were their other demands.
A one-day bandh had been organised in August, 2012 to showcase their protest against the proposal, the agitators said.