CHENNAI: A serpentine line of elderly women, 17-year-olds and assorted relatives, wound endlessly outside the rather dilapidated Panagal Hall at the Kilpauk Medical College. As it moved slowly into the building, it was evident that people had added twists and turns to the queue innumerable times to salvage whatever little shade they could manage.
“Even if we get sunstroke, I suppose there are enough doctors to attend to us,” said Varadhu (63), from Cuddalore, who had come with his granddaughter to buy a medical application form.
In an attempt to get the first lot of medical applications issued, an unprecedented number of people had begun arriving at the three teaching hospitals from as early as 1 am. With the mercury levels touching 37 degrees Celsius by noon, and with no trees to offer shade, quite a few people had to retire to the pavement for some quick relief. “People who went to Madras Medical College were lucky because of the tree cover there and the availability of kiosks with bottled water,” he added.
KMC Dean Dr P Ramakrishnan said that they had sold a whopping 1,400 application forms, though they had expected only half as much. Even at the Madras Medical College, 1,102 applications were sold, according to Dean Dr V Kanagasabai.
In all, 11,040 application forms were sold at 18 centres across the State on Tuesday — 2,000 more than what was sold on day one last year. Application forms will be available till May-end.
It was the out-of-towners, who arrived here in the hope that there wouldn’t be too much of a rush who bore the brunt of a slow, tedious application disbursal. “We were here at the crack of dawn,” said Jamal from Ranipet, who had with his daughter.
As there were no tokens handed out, a minor scuffle broke out at 10 am between two groups who had formed parallel queues. This was broken up by the police who ensured peace till the counters shut at 5 pm.