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News Entry# 288553
  
Dec 14 2016 (07:45)  Ayyappa pilgrims pray for help in Chennai railway station (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
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News Entry# 288553     
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Posted by: rdb*^  129995 news posts
HYDERABAD: Devotees of Lord Ayyappa on their return journey from Kerala to Andhra Pradesh had a tough time at the Chennai railway station with the officials terminating all the trains bound to their state at Chennai in view of Cyclone Vardah.
Eager to reach their ho mes, at least 200 devotees had to face the wrath of incessant rains at Chennai railway station before realizing that no train will be leaving the Tamil Nadu capital until the cyclone system blows over. "Many of us had come from Trivandrum to Chennai and were supposed to catch trains to Andhra Pradesh from there. But now, we are stranded at the station without power and the railway authorities are not able to tell us as
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to when will the train services resume," Alankar Rama Rao from Kovvur told TOI.
According to him, there are hundreds of other devotees from AP who were stranded at various places en route to Chennai. Rama Rao is leading a team of 11 Ayyappa devoteees from Kovvur who after 40 days of penance had darshan of the lord in Saba rimala on Sunday. Due to lack of electricity , the stranded devotees are reluctant to use their phones as they would not be able to recharge the battery. Phone services are affected as the cellular and data network has broken down at many places due to the cyclone and rendered the services dead, he said.
Prasad Raj, another devotee, said no help was forthcoming from the Andhra Pradesh authorities.
"There is not a single official from the state at the Chennai railway station.And we are unable to reach the helpline number they are advertising on the electronic media. All we can do is sit and pray for the train services to resume," he said.
Many of the devotees from AP are bound for cities like Vijayawada, Kakinada and Visakhapatnam as well as East and West Godavari districts. "Some of the elderly devotees are sugar patients and are not finding the food they need," said a devotee. Adding to their woes is the cash crunch. The devotees said vendors at the railway station were selling food at very high prices. "I had to shell out Rs 50 for a water bottle," said R Satyanarayana Verma from Eluru.
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