A visually-impaired woman died after she fell from the fourth floor of a Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) housing complex in Kalyanapuram, Elephant Gate in north Chennai on Thursday.

Police said that R. Chinnaponnu (80) had been living on the fourth floor of the complex for a few decades along with her grandsons, who took care of her. Around 8 a.m. on Thursday, she was walking down the staircase from her home to go to a washroom outside, when she accidentally bumped into a small, low sidewall and fell.

She was taken to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital by her grandson and neighbours, where the doctors declared she was brought dead.

A case has been filed by the Elephant Gate police.

“She could not balance and hold on to the low sidewall due to old age and poor vision,” said a police officer.

Built more than a decade ago, the housing complex has more than 400 tenements, occupied mostly by low-income groups.

Most of the structures in the complex, police said were weak and cracked. Also, most of the staircases are broken and damaged and have not been repaired.

“The sidewalls of the staircases in the complex are only knee-level high and it is difficult for most people, especially senior citizens to hold on to them as they walk down the staircase. Children in the complex are told by their parents not to go near the sidewalls as they are so dangerously low that the children may just fall,” said K. Sarawathi, a resident of the building.

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