Safety for women commuters and additional services in the morning and evening rush hours were the main demands made during an interaction between commuters and a delegation of Members of Parliament (MPs) that visited Tambaram on Saturday morning.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways was led by T.R. Baalu, Lok Sabha MP, former Union minister, and the chairman of the committee. The other members were Nandi Yellaiah and Husain Dalwai, Rajya Sabha MPs from Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
After inspecting passenger amenities at Tambaram railway station, the MPs travelled in a ladies’ compartment of a Chennai Beach- bound EMU.
Meenalochani, a college student, stressed the need for safe, and harassment-free travel. “Whether we travel inside the compartments or while we wait for trains on platforms, we are subject to a lot of harassment from male commuters,” she said.
“They take photos and videos while we travel and also while we wait on the platforms. We feel so embarrassed,” she added.
K. Vigneswari, who works in a private company, said women who boarded the suburban services from Chengalpattu at stations between Tambaram and Guindy faced extreme hardship and needed additional services, at least during the morning and evening rush hours. She also sought deployment of women police constables on ladies’ compartments throughout the day to prevent harassment and petty crimes
After alighting at the Pallavaram railway station, Mr. Baalu told reporters the feedback received from commuters would be presented to the Parliament. Speaking on other issues, he said he was aware that the ‘doubling’ or the laying of the second broad guage line between Chengalpattu and Dindigul — a Rs. 1,200-crore project — was progressing at a snail’s pace. He added he would speak to the contractor about speeding up the work.
On the project to make Tambaram the third terminal, he said legal issues had delayed the project and that funds for such massive projects were released in phases. He would have detailed discussions with the general manager of Southern Railway to speed up the Rs. 50-crore terminal project as well as to complete guage conversion on platforms 3 and 4 at Tambaram, he added.