Illegal parking of two wheelers in Perambur railway station has been obstructing the movement of ambulances shifting patients from the railway station to the nearest government hospital.
As a result, patients are often at the risk of losing out on the ‘golden hour’.
Every day, officials at the railway station in Perambur get at least 15 calls from commuters, mainly those on the suburban trains, about sudden sickness and giddiness experienced while travelling. Railway protection force (RPF) officers on the train, alerted by passengers, then take charge of transporting them for immediate medical attention.
Sometimes, railway officials also get calls for help directly from co-passengers.
According to railway officials, ambulances are immediately made available at the station to transport the patient to the nearest government hospital. Of the 21 railway stations between Basin Bridge and Tiruvallur, located over a distance of around 50 km, the railway station at Perambur is the lone station where a government hospital is conveniently located within a distance of few kilometres.
Thus, officials at other railway stations refer patients on board to the railway station at Perambur. However, due to illegal parking of two-wheelers, members of the ambulance staff take at least half-an-hour to enter the railway station premises, after the parked vehicles are removed. Until the bikes are cleared, patients are made to wait on stretchers at the rest rooms in the station.
“Many people park their bikes outside the station and disappear. Almost the entire stretch at the entrance of the station is encroached due to illegal parking, leaving no space for ambulances to enter the premises. We have to physically shift locked bikes elsewhere to allow ambulances to enter the station to transport sick commuters,” said a railway official.
The railway hospital at Perambur is the oldest government hospital in the city, with state-of-the-art facilities. It has also extended the services of a specialist for cardiac problems for many decades. It takes just five minutes to transport sick commuters to the railway hospital from the station, officials said.
The RPF personnel stationed at Chennai Central have jurisdiction over the railway stations at Basin Bridge, Vyasarpadi Jiva, Perambur, Loco Works, Carriage, Villivakkam and Ambattur. Railway officials at Perambur have erected nine ‘no parking’ boards at the entrance to the station.
“As Chennai Central is a vital station, most of the RPF personnel are deployed there leaving no one in other stations, especially in Perambur where our services needed to prevent encroachments due to illegal parking and help sick commuters,” said a RPF officer.
According to railway officials, repeated complaints by commuters and representations by officials to senior officers of the RPF at Chennai Central has not had any impact as the officers blame the lack of dedicated manpower to railway stations apart from Chennai Central station on a shortage of staff.
Every day, suburban trains undertaking a total of 140 trips on the Chennai Central–Arakkonam-Tiruvallur section cross the Perambur railway station. Twenty-nine long-distance trains including the Dibrugarh–Yeshvantpur express, also cross the station. Every day, on an average, at least 40,000 commuters use the stations, with a large number of them boarding suburban trains.