The suburban trains, the arterial network of the city, are the preferred mode of transport for thousands every day. In this series, DT Next will visit all 60 stations for a spot assessment.
Every day, the station records a footfall of about 8,000, most of whom riding the suburban network to come to Panagal building where several government offices are functioning; the complex that houses Metropolitan Magistrates’ Court and a fast track court; and places of worship like the famous Karaneeswarar temple and the St Thomas Mount Church in Saidapet.
According to the regular commuters, while the first and second platforms are properly lit, there are no lights on third and fourth platforms of the station. Due to this, the latter two platforms are often occupied by anti-socials, alleged passengers, adding that such persons are found on these platforms even during the day.
What has made it more convenient for these persons is the absence of CCTV cameras in the station premises. Also, personnel from the Railway Protection Force are also not present in the station round-the-clock. Due to this, the women commuters using the station alleged that they did not have adequate safety within the premises. The pedestrian subway is another area that has not been illuminated properly. As a result, it has been taken over by people who consume liquor and indulge in other illegal activities, rued the people. “We cannot use the subway in the night. And during the day, we have to cover our nose while using it because of the stench that permeates inside the subway,” said Karthiga from the locality said.
Inside the station, there are four ticket counters. However, out of them, only one is functioning all the time. The second counter works once in a while, but the third and fourth counters are closed completely. Another trouble that the people face is that one part of the foot overbridge is very narrow. Commuters say they find it especially difficult to use it in the mornings when a large number of people come to the station. There are many two-wheelers that have been dumped in the old parking lot inside station premises, which has become the main source for mosquito breeding when water gets stagnated after rain.
When contacted to seek response on the issues, a Southern Railway official said, “The work on reconstructing the foot overbridge and installing CCTV cameras will be done within a few months. There are plans to develop the station. Soon, the Saidapet station will sport a new look.”