Defunct Escalator at Chennai MRTS station proves a nightmare for ill fated commuter

Chennai Central (MAS): An elderly woman, who suffered a stroke while travelling on an MRTS train on Monday morning, was put to severe hardship thanks to a lack of medical facilities and the improper functioning of lifts and escalators at the station.

The woman was finally carried in a chair to the ground floor and sent to hospital in a car.

On Monday afternoon, four elderly women, along with a young girl and an elderly man, boarded the MRTS train at Park station and were travelling towards Indira Nagar. Before they reached their destination, one of the elderly women suffered a stroke.

At around 2 p.m. the group alighted at the station on platform number 1 and called a Railway Protection Force (RPF) constable for help. “There was no one around on the platform. I finally found a group of construction workers and sought their help to take the woman out of the station,” said the constable.

The lift on their side of the platform was not working and the escalator was ascending to the platform.

“I even tried reversing the movement of the escalator to take the woman down. But she could not move an inch. So we brought a chair and carried her. The family thanked us profusely,” said the constable.

Though such instances are rare on MRTS trains, passengers stress the need for medical booths on all station premises. “The railways should study stations that have high passenger traffic and set up booths there. They have enough space for such facilities,” said K. Shanmugam, a retired school teacher from Mylapore.

However a senior railway official said that hospitals would voluntarily set up booths only at big stations like Chennai Central or Egmore. “Since the MRTS plies through the heart of the city, people can avail the 108 ambulance facility to get to the nearest hospital,” said the official.

He added that steps will be taken to ensure that all lifts and escalators function properly at all MRTS stations.