For pregnant women and new mothers, getting to and from Government Raja Sir Ramaswamy Mudaliar Lying-in Hospital in Royapuram, is a bumpy ordeal.
The street that leads to the hospital, Cemetery Road, is so badly damaged that pregnant women going to the maternity hospital for check-ups and new mothers going home with their babies, find travelling extremely difficult.
Cemetery Road connects T.H. Road and Royapuram.
Every day, hundreds of pregnant women and mothers with children travel in buses, autorickshaws and share autos to get to the hospital, which is the only State-run maternity and child health centre in north Chennai.
Potholes dot the road, and patchwork done a few days ago has added to the misery of road users. “The road is in very bad shape, especially the stretch from MC Road junction to Royapuram junction. I regularly travel in an autorickshaw from Korukkupet as I have to go to the hospital for check-ups. It is scary when the vehicle reaches this stretch, as the surface is uneven and bumpy,” said a pregnant woman, who has now been admitted for delivery at the hospital.
The hospital sees at least 300 women every day as outpatients, and has an average of around 600 inpatients on a daily basis.
Latha, a resident of Ponneri, who was with her daughter-in-law, said, “We come by train from Ponneri to Korukkupet and then take an autorickshaw to the hospital. The authorities should ensure that roads leading to maternity hospitals are free from potholes. It is risky for pregnant women to travel on such stretches.”
“There is heavy traffic on the stretch and that partly contributes to the frequent damage to the road,” said a patient attendant from Tiruvottriyur.
Jothi, an auto driver near the hospital said, “Some kind of patchwork was done a few days ago on the road, but that layer too has worn out owing to heavy traffic. We drive extremely slowly when taking women discharged from the hospital after childbirth and operations.”
For ambulance drivers, negotiating the bumps and potholes on the stretch is an arduous task especially when transporting women in labour. “The road has been bad for the last three or four months,” a driver said.
Hospital authorities said the road’s condition had not been so bad earlier. “The road was dug up recently to lay two pipelines. It was after this that it has become so battered. Patients find it extremely difficult to come to the hospital,” an official said.