The footpath leading to the new campus of Christian Medical College (CMC) Hospital on the Chennai-Bengaluru Highway (NH-48) has been severely damaged, putting pedestrians at risk.
Pedestrians, who are mostly patients and the relatives, have to walk on the stretch to board buses at Puttuthakku village, around 500 metres from the hospital. The bus stop was formed a month after the hospital was opened by Chief Minister M.K. Stalin through videoconference in June 2022. “Badly damaged service lanes hurt us as we have to walk to the bus stop from the hospital. As speed-breakers on the stretch are damaged, motorists drive at a high speed,” said S. Meghna, a pedestrian.
The new hospital has key departments, including trauma care, cardiology, paediatrics and orthopaedics. It has 1,500 beds, a level 1 trauma care centre with six surgical theatres for accident victims, quaternary care medical and surgical services with an additional 29 operating theatres, 250 intensive care unit beds and 29 bone-marrow transplant unit beds. The hospital is the only medical facility available for trauma care in the 200-km radius on the highway. As a result, the flow of patients from districts and neighbouring States has been increasing. The service lane of the highway, which is maintained by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), has been badly damaged especially after the northeast monsoon.
Most of the bitumen layer has peeled off. Huge potholes have developed near the hospital. The stretch also lacks adequate LED street lights, and motorists are forced to depend on the headlights of their vehicles. Adding to its poor condition is the encroachment by auto-rickshaws and cabs. Most of the footpaths are broken. At present, 267 bus services are halting at the bus stop near the hospital every day. The Chennai region has the highest number of services, at 109, followed by Tirupati, 78, Kancheepuram, 54, and Cheyyar, 26.
“The damaged service lane along the highway near the hospital will be re-laid soon,” said an official of the NHAI.