Inundation and lack of lighting prevents commuters from using facility

Poor lighting at the subway near the railway station in Perambur is preventing pedestrians from using the facility. People continue to cross the railway tracks, risking injuries or even death.

Due to inadequate illumination, pedestrians, who are mostly commuters, said that women are scared to take the subway, especially after sunset. Incidents of chain snatching are common, and in the past six months, nearly a dozen such incidents have occurred in the area during night time. “Many of the lighting frames inside the subway were damaged. As the subway is dark, we prefer to cross the track to reach either the railway station or the bus terminus, even during daytime,” said K. Santosh, a resident in Perambur.   

Built jointly by the Southern Railway and the State government between 1999 and 2000, the subway cost around Rs. 18 lakh. In fact, a railway official said, the facility was the first subway in the city that was built using pre-cast concrete boxes. The boxes were inserted beneath the railway tracks to form the body of the pedestrian subway without stopping the train services along the route.

The subway, which is around 200 metres long and about six feet high, is a vital facility that connects many residential areas including the Tamil Nadu Housing Board quarters in Jamallia, Perambur and Vyasarpadi, with the bus terminus and railway station in Perambur.

“The subway offers the easiest path for those who wish to walk to the railway station and the bus terminus,” said S. Venket, an autorickshaw driver.

Over the years, the subway, which is maintained by the civic body, has also turned into a den of anti-social elements. During monsoon, the subway is flooded and often, the diesel-operated pump used to remove water is under repair. As a result, commuters have to wade through knee-deep rainwater.

A Chennai Corporation official said that the damaged lights would soon be replaced with new ones. “Efforts will also be taken to discharge excess rainwater from the subway during monsoon.”

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