Tamil Tribune

Tamil Nadu Discriminated in Indian Railway Budget - Chief Minister Jayalalithaa

K. Anantharaman
Thanjai Nalankilli

TAMIL TRIBUNE, November 2012 (ID. 2012-11-01)
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1. Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jeyaram's Criticism

2. Northernizing and Hindifying Southern Railways

This article is a snapshot taken in 2012 of the continued discrimination of Tamil Nadu in railway projects.

1. Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jeyaram's Criticism

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram criticized the 2012-2013 Indian Railways budget for not meeting the state's railway transportation needs (Chief Minister's statement released on March 14, 2012). Here is a summary of some specific "grievances" she pointed out.

Freight transport is essential for the movement of raw materials to manufacturing facilities (factories) and manufactured products from factories to consumers. South India has been requesting a dedicated freight corridor for the past few years. There is not even a mention of it in this budget. Chief Minister said, "It is disappointing to note that there has been no announcement of a dedicated freight corridor in the southern sector originating in Chennai. When the scheme was announced as far back as in 2006 itself in the Eastern and Western Sectors, the Southern Sector should also have been included at that time itself, considering the importance of Tamil Nadu as a Manufacturing Hub."

Sixteen new rail lines were requested to adequately service the needs of industrial development; only 10 were sanctioned. Requests for additional trains in existing lines were totally ignored. The long-requested Oragadam rail link with Avadi did not find a place in the budget either. The chief minister was also disappointed to see that its long pending request for double laning from Villupuram to Trichi was not sanctioned. Indian government has ignored Tamil Nadu's request to convert six meter-gauge lines to broad-gauge. Request to electrify Vilupuram-Katpadi line was also ignored.

There is no mention of modernization of Chennai Central Station (formerly known as Madras Central Station). 

In summary, Tamil Nadu State Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said that the state has been given a raw deal.

[Author's Note: (1) Even rail projects for Tamil Nadu listed in the budget do not necessarily get funded adequately in future years; the so-called paper projects. This is discussed with examples in Reference 1.

(2) Lack of adequate infrastructure such as rail lines hurts industrial development in the state and dampens employment opportunities and standard of living of this and future generations in Tamilnadu.]  

2. Northernizing and Hindifying Southern Railways

Southern sector of the Indian Railways (The Southern Railways) is more profitable than some of the other sectors. Yet Tamil Nadu, in the southern sector, gets the short end of the stick; Kerala State, also part of the southern sector, has also complained more than once about getting a bad deal in rail projects. Indian government seems to be more interested in "northernizing" and "Hindifying" the Southern Railways than meeting the needs of the southern states which the Southern Railways serves. In early 2007 Southern Railways eliminated idli, dosai and some other south Indian dishes from the food served to passengers. After receiving complaints, Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) issued a statement in April 2007 that it was only trying out the new menu on a trial basis for a few months and south Indian food would be back soon. Obviously it was trying out eliminating southern dishes and northernizing Southern railways [Reference 2].

All managers/officers working in Tamil Nadu offices of the Southern Railways received a memorandum in late 2003. The memorandum says that employees not attending Hindi training classes "should be severely dealt with" [Reference 3]. We wish Indian Railways would spend as much effort to meet the needs of South Indian peoples and industries as they spend in pushing Hindi into unwilling South Indian throats.

It is this selfsame South Indian Railways that paid for and placed Hindi advertisements in some Tamil newspapers published and sold in Tamil Nadu in 2006. It paid for and placed Hindi advertisements again on May 24, 2012 in the largest circulation Tamil daily Thinathanthi [Reference 4]. Instead of wasting money on Hindi advertisements in Tamil newspapers, most of whose readers do not understand the Hindi advertisements, may be use those monies to improve rail services to south Indian people. A few million Rupees here and few more there could add up to pay for a new rail line.

Editor's Note: Some Tamil names are spelled differently by different people. Here are couple of such names used here. Trichi - Trichy, Thiruchi, Thiruchy, Trichirapalli, Thiruchirapalli; Villupuram - Vilupuram, Vizhupuram, Vizupuram 


1.Paper Projects for Tamilnadu, Real Projects for Hindi States (by K. Anantharaman), TAMIL TRIBUNE, June 2003 (9 KB)

2. No Sari, No Idli : South Indians Go to Hell! (by Sharada T.P.K.), TAMIL TRIBUNE, July 2007 (8 KB)

3.Hindi in Southern Railways (by AT), TAMIL TRIBUNE, October 2004 (8 KB)

4. Hindi Advertisements in Tamil Newspapers: Does it Make Sense? (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, February 2007 (9 KB)


Economy, Finances, Budget, Taxes, Industries and Standard of Living of Tamil Nadu State, South India

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