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Vasan wants long-distance trains for Mahamaham

Monday, 4 January 2016

Kumbakonam: TMC leader G K Vasan has suggested that the Railways run special, long-distance trains for the benefit of devotees attending the Mahamaham festival here in February 2016.

This was necessary as several devotees from all over the country would arrive here to participate in it, he said yesterday.

Alleging that ongoing works in connection with the festival were proceeding at a slow pace, he said he would submit a memorandum to the Union Railway Minister in Delhi with a request to speed them up.

Speaking to reporters here after attending a private function, he reiterated that any decision on joining People's Welfare Front, which had invited him to join the combine, would be taken only after consulting party leaders and workers.

On 1 January, People's Welfare Front leaders, including MDMK leader Vaiko, had called on Vasan and urged him to be part of the PWF.

Besides Vaiko, those who had met Vasan were state secretaries of CPI(M) and CPI - G Ramakrishnan and R Mutharasan - and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi chief Thol Thirumavalavan.

On holding jallikattu (bull taming sport) in Tamil Nadu, Vasan said people felt its conduct would be blocked owing to differences of opinion between BJP and Congress. "The Centre without delay should announce conduct of the festival with all safety measures.The state government should take steps in this regard. TMC will stand for it," he said.

On 30 December, Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan had hit out at Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi for criticising the Centre on the 'jallikattu' issue and charged the Congress with trying to "destroy" Tamil Nadu's cultural event.

The chorus for holding jallikattu, banned by the Supreme Court, has been increasing with various political parties in the state, including Congress upping the ante on the issue.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had recently requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to introduce a bill to amend laws to conduct the sport or promulgate an ordinance for the same.

Vasan said the state government should properly earmark boundaries of rivers, lakes and channels, desilt them and remove encroachments.

He suggested that the kerosene subsidy given by the Centre be withdrawn as the people felt it would be difficult for them to avail of the amount credited to their accounts.

He said he would also meet Foreign Ministry officials and urge for speedy steps to secure the release of fishermen arrested by Sri Lankan naval personnel and for release of their boats before the Pongal festival.

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