CHENNAI: They are the two major railway terminals linking Chennai with the rest of the country. Attracting over three lakh people every day, the city’s premier landmarks handle roughly 150 trains, and tens of thousands of passengers. However, the absence of a pharmacy is a blot on these stations, which otherwise have several first-of-its-kind initiatives to their names. What is more, neither Central nor Egmore has an Internet café, at a time when wi-fi facilities are offered even on board trains.
Picture this. A passenger who urgently requires his prescribed medicine after arriving at Central Railway Station must make his way to the congested Nainiappan Maistry Street, off Walltax Road, to find a pharmacy, spending at least 20 precious minutes. For a browsing centre he has to walk down to the adjacent Walltax Road, again 20 minutes. A few emergency medicines like paracetamol tablets and pain relievers are sold at a book stall in the station.
Enquiries into the critical absence of these basic facilities revealed that three pharmacies were shut down in the last three years, and the lone Internet centre at the Central Railway Station run by RailTel Corporation of India Limited was closed about 12 months ago. The huge rent for the stall proved a constraint as the Internet centre generated hardly any income.
Apparently Egmore Railway Station too, after more than a century of servicing commuters, lacks these facilities, forcing hapless people to go to Kennet Lane, diagonally opposite 96the station. Though a pharmacy cum general shop is functioning close to the railway terminal, the net savvy must make it to the fag end of Kennet Lane to browse the Internet. When contacted, a senior official of Southern Railway stated that tenders had been floated for two pharmacies at Central and Egmore Railway Stations, which are yet to be finalised.