May 18, 2017: Reports say that the Rastriyavadi Christara Vedike has urged the Railways to start a direct train to Velankanni from Mangaluru so as to benefit pilgrims in the region.
Rastriyavadi Christara Vedike Convener Franklin Monteiro said on May 17, Wednesday that tourists who go to Velankanni now have to catch the Mangaluru-Tiruchirappalli express which arrives at 6.50 am in Mangaluru Central and reaches Tiruchirappalli at 10 pm. They have to later travel for around five hours by bus to reach Velankanni. Therefore, it takes around 15 hours to make the journey and even more if trains get delayed, Monteiro said.
Some people also take cabs from Mangaluru and many accidents happen during the long journey. It can be recalled that eight members from a family based in Manjeshwar died in a road mishap near Karur in Tamil Nadu while on their return journey, Monteiro said.
If a direct train is introduced, it would benefit pilgrims going to Velankanni from the coastal area as the region sees a sizeable number of visitors and will help save a lot of travel time, he said. The direct train, if run, will not only help Christians, but also Muslims and Hindus who want to visit Nagur Dargah and temples in Tanjavur, he said.
The Vedike members stated that a request has been sent to BJP state president and MP B S Yeddyurappa to lead a delegation to the Prime Minister and the Union Railway Minister to submit a memorandum.