The Ministry of Railways and Divisional Railways Manager of Chennai has promised to look into issue of the overcrowded Guindy railway station. This comes after TNM put out a story on how infrastructure at the Guindy railway station has not been upgraded in decades, despite the increasing number of commuters and how a tragedy like the Elphinstone station stampede in Mumbai is waiting to happen here in Chennai.
After TNM’s story was published on Friday, he Ministry of Railways took to Twitter to state that the matter has been forwarded to the concerned department.
The Divisional Railway Manager of Chennai also responded to the issue by tweeting, “The issue is flagged for further action.”
The issue is flagged for further action.— DRM Chennai (@DrmChennai) October 13, 2017
The Guindy station is one of the busiest in Chennai with a footfall of over 25,000 people every day. It sees at least 200 trains arriving at its platforms. Commuters departing at Guindy, take one of the six stairways, which leads to a foot overbridge that then takes them to the singular exit.
Despite the increase in footfall over the years, infrastructure at the station has not been expanded, nor an additional exit been provided.
TNM’s status-check found that during peak hours, it takes 15 minutes to exit the platform, what should normally take 3 minutes.
"I take this train to work every day and it is terrible during the peak hours. When more than one train comes to the platform, there is no way to even get out. It takes at least 15 minutes to actually leave the station," said Sindhu, a resident of Guindy.
Many commuters are aware of the dangers that the station pose. Rajesh, a techie, who travels to Guindy for work, said, "We all know what happened in Mumbai and that it could repeat here. I don't know how much longer we can avert an untoward incident."
An official from the station had admitted to TNM that a disaster on the lines of Elphinstone station stampede is waiting to happen. “The Guindy station is a disaster waiting to happen. If a stampede such as that in Mumbai were to occur, the consequences will be horrific,” said the official.
According to the railway employees who man the station, passengers have filed multiple complaints in the past in connection with the lack of infrastructure. However, little has changed on the ground. "The Railways ministry replies saying that they will take the necessary steps but nothing ever happens," said the official. "In fact, there is one proposal to construct a path from this station to the adjacent metro station to ease the traffic, but there has been no progress in the matter," he adds.
On September 29, 23 people were killed in a stampede in Elphinstone railway station in Mumbai. Heavy rains saw overcrowding in the foot overbridge, leading to a stampede.