CHENNAI: The agony of a Chennai-bound passenger bitten by a rodent in a sleeper class compartment on the overnight Salem-Chennai Express was compounded after railway authorities failed to provide him with first aid.
According to N P Venkatachalam (38), travelling to Chennai for a function in coach S6 with his friend on Friday night, he was bitten by the rat when he tried to remove his suitcase from under the lower berth around 10 pm. As he tried to kill it by covering it with a piece of paper, the rat bit him on the other hand as well and he started bleeding.
Venkatachalam said that he contacted the Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) and the railway police helpline who assured him that medical help would be provided when the train halted at Vridachalam Junction an hour later.
However, when the station authorities conveyed the lack of medicines, he filed a complaint with the station master, he said. There was no first aid provided on the train as well, he alleged. Bearing the pain all night, Venkatachalam got himself treated at a clinic in T Nagar on Saturday morning.
In his response to the complaint, the concerned TTE has written that “the passenger was given whatever medicine was available.”
First-aid kits are available with the train guards or superintendents travelling on the train, a railway police official said.
The incident also highlighted the condition of railway coaches where rodents and cockroaches are often seen scurrying beneath berths. According to a source at Chennai Central station, rat-killing medicines are applied frequently near the tracks, as that is the area where they are seen most often.
“Hygiene in coaches and presence of rodents is an issue we consistently take up during meetings with railway officials,” said T Rajkumar of the Tamil Nadu Rail Rail Passengers Rights Tribune. Though Indian Railways has embarked on a cleanliness drive at stations, “rodents might enter the coaches in the yard”, he added.