CHENNAI: Chaos reigned supreme at the Chennai Central station on Tuesday morning during a ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ campaign organised by a private university in Chennai, causing inconvenience to passengers and evoking displeasure from officials.
The campaign by the Dr MGR Educational and Research Institute was slotted between 10.30 am and 11 am, as there was no arrival or departure of trains at that time.
City Express learnt that the organisers were asked by the Railway officials to spread the students in 22 different spots across the station to prevent crowding in a single area.
When BJP State president Tamizhisai Soundararajan made it to the venue about 45 minutes late to formally launch the campaign, the crowd started moving towards her.
In the ensuing melee, students jumped on the chairs, breaking a few were broken.
Passengers making their way to board the trains were unable to find space to move about as the students, politicians and mediapersons were occupying the central passageway.
“The central area was for VIPs only. The participants were to take the oath, which was to be played on the public address system, and leave by 11 am,” an official said.
When City Express asked the organisers about the chaos and broken chairs, they denied that the students were behind it. However, it was reliably learnt that the organising committee had offered to replace the broken chairs.
A few security officials questioned the choice of venue to take up the campaign.
“I don’t know why a busy place like the Central Railway Station was selected for the campaign. There are so many other localities in Chennai which are dirty and need cleaning,” said a member of the public.
At the press conference, the organisers were questioned about their choice of Chennai Central to launch the cleanliness drive, when the station already had dedicated staff on contract for cleaning. “This is just the first place where we wanted to create awareness about cleanliness. We did not come here just to clean,” Tamizhisai said. Amid the chaos, she visited three different spots at the station and interacted with more than 500 students who were divided into 34 teams of 20 each. Every team was given a 25-kg gunny bag and the garbage collected in all came to about 10 trolleys, an organiser said.