Off pavements, these bright stars from Chennai seek shelter

Fifty families were in the eye of the controversy when they were evicted without notice from payments outside the Egmore railway station in Chennai.

Published: 22nd October 2021 06:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd October 2021 02:13 PM   |  A+A-

Rafisha A (L) with Suganya A (Photo| Ashwin Prasath, EPS)

Rafisha A (L) with Suganya A (Photo| Ashwin Prasath, EPS)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: 50 families were in the eye of the controversy when they were evicted without notice from payments outside the Egmore railway station in Chennai. One of the things that went unnoticed was two girls completing their graduation all the while living on platforms by themselves.

“Living on the pavements, the social factors were challenging daily but we knew only completing college would bring us a better future. So, we kept our focus on education despite the odds,” says 21-year-old Suganya A, sitting at a Corporation shelter, along with her friend Rafisha A.

Having passed class 12 from a Corporation school in the locality, the two girls are the only ones to have finished graduation among the 50 families evicted a week ago. While Suganya has studied B.Sc Tourism from Queen Mary’s College, Rafisha is a BA Economics graduate from the Quaid-e-Millath College.

“After graduation in 2019, I also worked as a tourist guide for six months and travelled to Rajasthan and Punjab,” says Suganya. The duo have overcome many a challenge such as inadequate lighting, constant pollution, high noise levels, mosquito menace, wine-shop crowds, and more importantly, lack of adequate space, through their graduation days. “We did not have to worry about college fees or education expenses as we had scholarships opportunities,” Suganya says, adding that she recently got married as well.

Rafisha (21), who also graduated in 2019, says she used to stay in the college campus during semester exams. “With routine disturbances, we sought permission from our professors to allow us to stay in the campus. They knew about our living conditions, and readily agreed,” she says.

“I was looking forward to applying for an MA in Economics and I want to become a professor. But now, we have been displaced to a corporation shelter. Commuting late at nights have become a horrendous task,” she adds.

Suganya says the police question when they travel after 9 pm. While they felt safe in Egmore, they do not feel it in Periyamet. “At least 40 students have dropped out due to social conditions. We can only study well if we have a roof over our head.” The young women say a house for themselves within the city would put an end to most of their issues.


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  • Kumar

    Please give them a house in Boat Club
    9 months ago reply
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