A swanky room for ticket counters greets commuters at the railway station in Gudiyatham town near Vellore.
The passengers. instead of taking the foot overbridge to reach other platform, cross the railway tracks to board local trains, risking their life.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ticket counters were near the foot overbridge. But, commuters, especially long distance travellers, found the arrangement inconvenient as the entrance of the railway station was on the opposite end of the bridge. However, passengers travelling long distances, including senior citizens and women, used the foot overbridge safely to reach the platform.
After when the Southern Railway built new ticket counters near the entrance of the railway station, the risky crossing of the tracks began. “With our baggage and children, it is difficult to walk to the foot over the bridge and climb it to reach the platform. We know the risk of crossing the tracks but we have no option,” said S. Vasanthi, a commuter in Gudiyatham.
The station also lacks adequate lighting, a working public addressal system, clean restrooms, shelters and safe drinking water facilities. More importantly, the existing tiled pathway on the platforms for persons with disabilities are damaged at many spots, causing risks for them to board trains safely. At present, Gudiyatham railway station has only two platforms where a few local trains are operated mainly to Chennai. Many long distance trains halt here, making it busier during weekends and festival season. Despite its significance, the railway station does not have proper safety, especially at night, as the approach pathway to the station does not have adequate streetlights, say locals. “Steps will be taken to provide more facilities at the station,” a railway official said.