“I am happy that railway minister Mamata Banerjee considered my demand for starting a direct train to Vailankanni” was how PWD minister Churchill Alemao worded his reaction.
He said, “During my meeting with her along with chief minister Digambar Kamat, we had urged her to start a weekly train so as to ease the suffering of pilgrims.”
Taking credit, Alemao further said, “I was instrumental in having a direct train to Vailankanni during the annual pilgrimage this year, though others have sought to take credit for it (indirectly referring to Francisco Sardinha).”
He added that credit should also go to Kamat, who “showed his secular credentials by striving to get the direct train facility for the Catholic community”.
Kamat said, “I am happy that the railway minister has listened to our request. I hope the pilgrims will now have a pleasant and comfortable train journey.”
Rajya Sabha MP Shantaram Naik also expressed satisfaction that the long-standing demand of Goans for the train has now been fulfilled. He added that the inclusion of Vasco railway station for upgradation to Adarsh railway station is also a welcome move.