Accessibility Woes Plague Chromepet Railway Station: Commuters Demand Urgent Action

Last Updated: December 20, 2023, 18:35 IST

Accessibility Woes Plague Chromepet Railway Station: Commuters Demand Urgent Action. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Chromepet Railway Station in Chennai faces severe accessibility challenges, with debris & non-functional infrastructure, leaving commuters struggling.

Chennai’s Chromepet Railway Station has become a symbol of the accessibility challenges faced by commuters, particularly those with mobility impairments, according to The Times of India report.

The report says that the station’s entrance is marred by debris, compelling passengers to dangerously navigate through railway tracks to access platforms. This daunting scenario came to light when Lavanya Maheshwari, a 56-year-old wheelchair user, found herself waiting for 45 minutes for assistance from railway staff.

The infrastructure at Chromepet Railway Station exacerbates the situation. The news outlet reported that Lavanya’s usual route to the booking office, a ramp near the foot-over-bridge, was rendered unusable due to the encroachment by tipplers and vendors. In addition, the lift and escalator within the station were non-functional, leaving commuters like Tamizh Rani C, a 58-year-old flower vendor, unable to access certain areas. She lamented, “I cannot climb the stairs, so I can’t use the foot-over-bridge. Many stations are getting redeveloped, but we still walk over the tracks to reach the platform,” TOI reported.

The immediate vicinity of the station further complicates matters, especially for pedestrians with mobility impairments. The uneven surfaces pose difficulties, emphasising the pressing need for improved accessibility. Commuters are now vocalizing their demands for better facilities, but officials point to the lack of funds, as the Southern Railway is yet to sanction a redevelopment project for Chromepet Railway Station.

Despite persistent challenges, RailMadad, a recommended mobile application by Southern Railway, has not been effective in addressing reported concerns. Lavanya’s ordeal highlights the limitations of such digital platforms. Ranjana Devi, a Southern Railway commercial supervisor, encourages the use of the app but acknowledges that some commuters, like Tamizh, find it challenging. “I don’t know how to use these apps. Whenever I go to the station master’s office, nobody is there to report issues,” Tamizh told TOI.

Sathish Kumar, a disability rights activist, emphasises that the city’s railway stations are far from being truly disabled-friendly. He stresses on the importance of regular maintenance for existing escalators and lifts, calling for immediate action. “We are conducting campaigns and surveys to compile a database. This aims to identify spaces that can be redeveloped to better suit the needs of people with disabilities and senior citizens,” Kumar told the news agency.

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