From PRS centre to VIP entrance, every inch of space is occupied by commuters, daily wage earners
The spacious main entrance to Tiruchi Railway Junction has always been a sight to behold.
The junction got a facelift recently and the additional entry point, likely to be opened shortly, is expected to provide added attraction to the premises.
The spacious and well laid-out circulating area at the main entrance to the junction and the hall housing the current ticket booking counters have turned out to be the resting spot for a large number of people at night. Any visitor to the junction after 10 p.m. will be surprised to see people occupying every inch of the space – right from the Passenger Reservation Systems (PRS) centre to VIP entrance.
Many commuters from the neighbouring districts and villages surrounding the city, who make it a point to reach the junction in advance to catch overnight long-distance trains, and those on the transit journey, take advantage of the spacious ground, to take rest till the arrival of their trains. But it is the daily wage earners, employed in construction works in the city, hailing from other parts of the State, who form the majority , says M. Murugan, a worker of a roadside eatery near the junction.
These destitute, after a hard day’s work, finish their dinner in the night stalls near the junction and central bus stand and settle down in the circulating area. These workers will vanish from the scene before the break of dawn, Murugan says.
These people sleep in the open braving even the biting cold during the winter, he adds.
A section of commuters expresses concern at people sleeping on pavements and footpaths, even as the government makes tall claim about the overall development achieved by the country in different fields.
Even the Supreme Court in its recent judgment directed the States to comply with its order to provide roofs to the homeless facing threat to their lives while sleeping in the open.
It is a common sight to see homeless people, beggars, rickshaw pullers sleeping on streets, empty bus shelters, flyovers, under the bridges, parks, and pavements across the city, says T. K. S. Senthil Kumar, founder, Anbalayam, a city-based voluntary organisation which runs a government-approved psychiatric rehabilitation home for the mentally ill in the city. The government must gear up ‘to preserve and protect’ the lives of these people, and should come forward to set up more night shelters at prominent locations in the city for the benefit of these hapless people, he suggests.