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Blog Entry# 3563127
Posted: Jun 23 (00:38)

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SWR/South Western
Jun 23 (00:38)   Karnataka villagers go on ticketless travel for rail link

16591🔹Hampi Express🔹16592^~   3031 news posts
Entry# 3563127   News Entry# 342485         Tags   Past Edits
In a novel protest, scores of people from Mundaragi in Karnataka embarked on a ticketless journey from Gadag railway station to Rameswaram to offer prayers at the Ramanathaswamy Temple seeking divine intervention to make the Centre allot required funds for laying a new rail line to benefit them.
Though the 95 men and women managed to make their ticketless travel from Gadag to Bengaluru and then to Rameswaram through Madurai, the special squad of railway ticket checking staff detained them at Madurai junction on their return journey on Thursday.
“This is the first
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more...
time that we have been detained by railway authorities for ticketless travel. In the past, we had made similar travel to Varanasi on five occasions. Each time, at least 400 to 500 members of Mundaragi Taluka Forum of Struggle for Public Grievances visited the temple with the same prayer,” the forum convenor Basavaraj Y. Navalagund toldThe Hindu.
Whenever they were caught by railway authorities, the protesters would flash the pamphlets explaining their struggle and their ticketless protest. “We were let off on all our previous journeys,” he said.
Another protester, Sankaragouda Patil, said the struggle committee had been making repeated petitions to the Central and State (Karnataka) governments seeking a new railway line to cater to the “neglected area of North Karnataka.”
After their continuous struggle, the Indian Railways completed a survey for laying a new railway line between Gadag and Harapanahalli via Mundaragi and Huvinahadagali in 2014-15.
“We expected the railways to lay the new line at the earliest. But, no fund has been allocated till now. If the new line is laid, it will cover most of the rural areas in North Karnataka and provide the passengers convenient rail connection to Bengaluru and Mumbai,” he said.
The protesters said they offered ‘holy waters of the Ganges’ they had brought from Varanasi to the deity at the Rameswaram temple and took sand from Rameswaram to be offered to the river.
If the Centre did not respond to the symbolic protest, the forum would begin an indefinite dharna at Gadag railway station coming under South Western Railway. Railway officials in Madurai, however, imposed a total fine of Rs. 10,000 on the ticketless travellers, they added.

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