CHENNAI: Disabled people and the elderly find it difficult to access the ticket counter at the Nungambakkam suburban railway station as the construction of an elevator has been delayed. The approval for the elevator was given in 2019 and construction commenced for the same, however, there has been no progress since then.
Sharadha AG (61), who has knee-problem, said the lack of an elevator is causing severe discomfort to climb all the way to the railway station. "It's a strenuous walk with my knee-problem. It was a good move to put up an elevator taking us to the station’s ticket counter directly but almost a year has passed now," she said. After the relaxation of lockdown, Southern Railway started permitting different sections of passengers to ply in the trains.
Dhayanand Krishnan, a civic activist, who raised this issue with the Southern Railway, said since the elevator is not functioning, people with disabilities are the most affected. "How will people with disabilities climb up the ramp to the station? The lift is required here immediately,” he said. He also said that there needs to be another elevator from the ticket counter to the platform. “This lift would only ferry people till the ticket counter. From there, another lift is required to them to the platform," he added.
Recently, the railways built disabled-friendly toilets but there was no accessible pathway to it. However, after requests, a ramp was built leading to the toilets. Southern Railway officials said they would speed up the process and a lift would be constructed soon. “All the equipment have arrived and it would be opened soon. We are also planning to expand this to other stations,” the official said.
Earlier this year, the Chennai Corporation had also planned a foot-over-bridge across the Nungambakkam subway for easy access of commuters crossing the road. However, that project is in cold storage. Corporation officials said the funds are yet to arrive.