CHENNAI: A customer in a well known departmental store at Chromepet suffered three severe fractures on her left hand when it was accidentally caught between the escalator handrail and the wall which she could only extricate after the escalator reached the top.
D Kanmani Priya, a resident of Guduvanchery, alleged escalator malfunction of the handrail belt for the the accident.
Saravana Stores (where the accident happened) have told police that Kanmani Priya had herself fallen while taking the escalator and suffered injuries.
Priya said she was shopping in the Saravana Stores on Wednesday afternoon when she took the escalator from the seventh floor.
“Soon after stepping on the escalator, I placed my left hand on the handrail. But the handrail suddenly became shaky and my hand was pulled into the narrow gap between the handrail and a wall adjacent to it. Even as I shouted in pain, the staff did not stop the escalator and my hand was bleeding all the way. My hand was released only when the escalator reached the top,” Kanmani Priya told Express over the phone from the hospital on Thursday.
She said the store management was negligent for leaving a narrow gap between the wall and the escalator.
“In every shop, there will be at least a few feet gap to avert such accidents. But in this shop, the gap was so narrow due to which my hand got stuck,” she said.
Kanmani Priya underwent surgery on Wednesday in a private hospital near Tambaram with three fractures between her shoulder and wrist.
Chrompet police inspector Murali Sundaram said they are yet to ascertain negligence on the part of store management.
“I am not sure if there is any negligence on the part of Saravana Stores. It can be ascertained only after further investigation,” he told Express.
For Kanmani Priya, the ramifications may be long-term as the accident has raised concerns about continuing her livelihood.
“I am living alone with my son and mother. I earn my livelihood as a tailor. I don’t think I can continue in that profession. But store officials are simply washing their hands off their responsibility and a few police personnel who visited me in hospital said I am cooking up the story.
“Nothing of that sort happened inside the store. I have the bills for the purchase of a cellphone for my son from the store. It is up to the police to properly investigate and establish the truth,” she said.
Saravana Stores officials could not be reached on Thursday for comment.