Lord Ayyappa devotees should not take bath in coaches: Railways plea

Southern Railways today joined issue with a section of Lord Ayyappa devotees, who protested over water shortage at the Erode Staton, and said the allegation of water shortage and stoppage of trains arose only during Sabarimala season.

In a release, Salem Division PRO G V Venkatesan said even though there was a heavy rush of passengers during other seasons such as Diwali, New Year, Pongal festival, which at times, was more than the Sabarimala season, the complaint of water shortage did not arise at all.

"Therefore, the unfounded allegation of Railways failing to make necessary arrangements to tackle the heavy rush, is denied as incorrect," he said, referring to the protest yesterday.

Attributing the reason for the water shortage to taking bath by Ayyappa devotees in the early hours in the coach itself, the release said this was totally against the rules as the water was meant for handwash and toilet use only.

Every rail coach is consisting of four water tanks of 400 litres capacity each, which totals to 1600 litres, he said.

The water was filled at Chennai Central and again at Erode Junction and this water was more than sufficient to take care of the normal needs of the passengers,he said.

The Railways while respecting the religious sentiments of devotees appealed to them to comply with the convenience of other passengers by not taking bath in coaches/railway waiting rooms, and not light inflammable things inside railway compartments, Venkatesan said.

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