CHENNAI: Praveen Raj (18), the youngest in the family decided to start working three years back to support his family and for his sister’s wedding. But this dream was short lived.
“Hailing from a middle class family, he was very keen in working and supporting the family. He dreamt of setting up a shop. Though he earned only `6,000 per month, he would make sure a part of it was saved for his sister’s wedding,” said one of Praveen Raj’s uncle, who preferred anonymity.
Thursday was a black day for Praveen Raj’s family. He along with his elder brother and fifteen other boys from Perungalathur left home around 8 am to board the 8.20 am fast train. As the train crossed Palavanthangal and was heading to St Thomas Mount, one of the boys slipped. This led to pulling of one another and around seven of them fell off the train onto the tracks.
Praveen, who sustained severe injures died on the spot along with another boy Manikandan sending shock waves among his friends and family. Praveen who worked as an air conditioner mechanic at Kodambakkam used to travel by the same train for almost three years. Owing to financial constraints, he discontinued education after Class X and started supporting his family doing odd jobs. His father Ambikapathi is a daily wage earner and his mother Gowri, a home maker. His eldest sister Pavithra works in a private company at Guindy and his elder brother Soundarapandi, works at Kodambakkam.
Ambikapathi said, “My son went for work everyday. Today, I didn’t speak to him much, but he had taken leave of his mother before going to office. Within an hour, I received a call from his friend saying my son had died.”
“Officials are aware that these trains are overcrowded, particularly during office hours. They should ensure that these trains do not run late. My son’s death is not the first due to this, but I hope this is the last death.”