A 20-year-old woman gave birth to a baby girl in an autorickshaw on Wednesday afternoon, at the entrance to the government hospital in Chromepet.

Staff at the hospital said that last week too, a baby was born in an atorickshaw at the same spot.

The mother, Mariamma, and her husband Ezhumalai are residents of Lakshmi Nagar in East Tambaram. They were married three years ago, and have a one-and-a-half year old daughter, Raghavi.

At 11.45 a.m. on Wednesday, Mariamma, who was eight months pregnant, developed labour pains. She told her husband, who rushed her to hospital. “I was petrified. I ran out of the house to get an autorickshaw. There was one just near the house, and when I told him about my wife, he did not bargain over the rate,” said Ezhumalai.

Mariamma and her sister-in-law Adilakshmi boarded the autorickshaw, while Ezhumalai followed them on a motorcycle. But Mariamma’s pains became worse, and just as the vehicle entered the gates of the hospital, she delivered.

“It was a normal delivery. The baby was about to fall out of the auto, but my sister caught him,” said Ezhumalai. The mother and baby were rushed to the maternity ward.

Onlookers who witnessed the birth were somewhat shocked. “I have seen this is in movies, but this is the first time I have witnessed a birth in a vehicle,” said K. Thangamani, who was accompanying her mother to the hospital.

Venkatesan, the autorickshaw driver said he did not want to take any money from the family.

“They helped me clean the vehicle as it was stained after the birth. They also gave me Rs. 100 out of sheer joy of having had a healthy baby. I waited until I heard the mother and baby were doing fine. It was a relief to hear that,” he said.

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