CHENNAI : Many patients and ambulance drivers faced difficulty on Saturday after the pothole filled roads outside Raja Sir Ramaswamy Mudaliar (RSRM) and Stanley Medical College Hospital submerged. A short 15 minute spell of rain was enough to cause a harrowing two hours for the public on Cemetery Road and Old Jail Road, where these hospitals are located. “MC Road and student’s subway submerged and large potholes became invisible,’’ said Mohamad Ibrahim, a patient, who visited Stanley hospital. Patients said poor drainage in Stanley Medical College subway, in which knee-deep water filled in no time even after five minutes of rain, is to blame. Express saw a corporation staff manually removing the water as it was an important route for ambulances.
“This has been the condition for more than six months. From pregnant women to children and people with disabilities to senior citizens, everybody uses this government hospital but there is no road at its entrance itself,’’ said Ibrahim. Stanley Hospital is the medical hub for the whole of North Chennai as thousands of people go there daily. Apart from this, a large number of students study in the college adjacent to the hospital.
Driving 500 metres down the water-filled subway and reaching Cemetery Road, where RSRM hospital is located, the situation was even worse. On one side, no road, but just water could be seen. Commuters avoided the water-stagnant road fearing that their vehicles could fall inside dug up pits or get stuck in potholes. This also led to a long traffic jam, causing inconvenience to ambulance drivers.
“Ambulance speeds up during emergency and we need smoother roads and better drainage facilities so that water does not stagnate,’’ said Selvam G, who drives `108’ ambulance. He added that bad roads reduce ambulance speed and also constant jerk adds more health problems to patients.
Apart from locals, people from other parts of the State too come to these hospitals. Bewildered by the pathetic condition of the roads, patients said they were not able to reach the hospital on time. “It takes 20-30 minutes for traffic on Cemetery Road to clear and if the road was smooth, vehicles can move faster. The wait from Royapuram signal to RSRM is never ending,’’ said Shantha S, a visitor to the hospital. When Express brought the people’s suffering to the notice of Greater Chennai Corporation, officials said storm water drain and road relaying was happening in a phased manner.
‘’We have laid roads in many parts of Royapuram ahead of monsoon and it is still continuing. Potholes and bad roads near hospitals will be fixed soon,’’ an official said. Officials also said water stagnates in subways due to the slope but super-sucker machines will be deployed if the situation turns worse.