Kumali: Work on the Madurai-Bodinayakannur line is nearing completion. It is expected to be a development project for a district that has no railways. The work from Madurai to Theni is 80 per cent complete. The railway locomotive ran a test run-up to Theni twice.
Tourism sector to be strengthened
The Madurai-Bodinayakannur railway line also gives a lot of hope to the tourism sector in the district. The road connects Thekkady, Munnar, and Ramakkalmedu to all the tourist destinations in the district. Tourists from other states now travel to Kochi or Kottayam by taxi or bus to reach these tourist destinations.
With the launch of the train service to Bodinayakannur, tourists can easily visit the tourist spots of the Idukki district. It is hoped that this will pave the way for more tourists to come here.
The benefit to pilgrims and traders
With the arrival of the train at Bodinayakannur, Sabarimala will be easily accessible to pilgrims from other states and from Idukki to Madurai, Velankanni, Rameshwaram, Palani and Tirupati. It will also help the traders from here to improve their connectivity with various commercial centres in Tamil Nadu.
Possibilities of a Dindugal-Kumily route
The Dindugal-Kumali railway line, which has been instrumental in the growth of the tourism and commercial sectors in the district, has also become a reality. Although it was approved by the Planning Commission in 2009, the authorities have not taken any action for this railway. The Planning Commission had suggested that half of the cost of the project should be borne by the state and half by the centre. But sadly no one, including the people's representatives, came out with a strong stand for a project that would energise the entertainment, pilgrimage, and trade sectors in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The project will cover the railway line from Dindugal to Chempatty, Wattalagund, Periyakulam, Theni, Bodinayakannur, Thevaram and Kambam. Tens of thousands of people from both the states will benefit if this road connects Theni with the Madurai-Bodinayakannur line and from Bodinayakannur via Thevaram and Kambam to the Lower Camp.
Sabarimala pilgrims benefit the most. The commercial sector in the Idukki district benefits from all this. It will also facilitate the movement of cardamom and pepper from here and vegetables from Tamil Nadu to Kerala. This project is also a boon for students from Kerala studying in Tamil Nadu.