A visit to Taramani MRTS station exposes safety issues

Chennai: While the MRTS is the lifeline for thousands of commuters in this part of the city, safety continues to be a huge concern for women who use the facility, especially in the wake of the recent shocker at Taramani.

For the uninitiated, three railway employees, including a booking clerk, had allegedly harassed a college girl and her male friend at the said station last week.

One of the accused, a lift operator, had also attempted to molest the girl. She was however rescued after a commuter alerted the police who arrived on time.

When this reporter visited the spot after the incident, many things were amiss. To begin with, the building is unnecessarily large with many isolated spots, that are usually occupied by lovers, drug addicts and alcoholics.
‘I am really scared to come for duty’, says RPF man Murugalingam, who is posted here.

‘A few years ago, a RPF personnel was assaulted by a group of men, who were having a drinking session at the station’s premises. Being a single unarmed man here, I am wary of tackling such situations’, he adds.

It is his daily routine driving out men and couples who make use of the deserted spaces, he says. ‘We check the station fully once in every half-an-hour’, Murugalingam adds.

‘There are four risky places’, he notes, as he walks us to each of the spot which is misused- two long corridors and two dark corners.

‘The people living in the opposite apartments, can see through their long corridors and windows, and inform us if we need to check out someone’, he says, adding, ‘When caught, many say that they came to urinate, while couples try to move away. I have spent money and put locks on the grill gates leading to these spaces, but they are destroyed in no time. I have also found crates of beer bottles here’.

Speaking about last week’s unfortunate incident, he says, ‘Post that, we do not have a lift operator. Nobody is willing to come. The previous guy was a local resident. He often came to work wearing khakhi pants, so people would think he is a policeman, he even told commuters that he was from the RPF’.

‘This place will be safer if we make it a single entrance-exit station like Perungudi, and post women personnel on duty’, he concludes.

 

Naomi N