R. Srikanth

Slum-dwellers using premises as open air toilets at some stations

CHENNAI: The Mass Rapid Transit System from Chennai Beach to Thiruvanmiyur has caught on with commuters, despite the lack of passenger amenities and absence of adequate parking space at the stations.

R.K. Prabhu, who regularly commutes from Tiruvanmiyur, says that except in Mylapore and Tiruvanmiyur, there are no authorised parking lots. Vehicle parking at the other stationsis at the owner's risk. During the rains, commuters find parking a problem even at Tiruvanmiyur because the parking area at the basement gets flooded.

With the stations between Tirumailai and Tiruvanmiyur still to be fully completed, floors made wet and slippery by rainwater is another problem.In the absence of coordination with the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC), which operates the city bus services, commuters have to depend on personal transport to reach the MRTS stations.

Residents of slums along the elevated track, who lack toilet facilities, has led to the premises of MRTS stations being used as open-air toilets. The problem is acute on the ground floor of the Light House, Tiruvallikeni and Kotturpuram stations. This apart, vagrants use the premises of some stations for sleeping.

Officials say that once the MRTS services become fully operational, the problems would be resolved.However, an official conceded that the shortage of Railway Protection Force personnel and ticketing staff was getting in the way of evicting the vagrants or cracking down on the slum-dwellers.