Last year, a 25-year-old man attempted suicide at the Vadapalani Metro Rail Station in Chennai by jumping on to the track, a year after the service was launched.
The record is worse in the Delhi Metro Rail. Last year alone, 76 attempted suicide and 12 died.
In a bid to prevent such attempts, the Delhi and Chennai Metro Rail systems have decided to install platform screen doors (PSD) in underground stations.
These doors are synchronised to open along with the train doors, thereby blocking access to the track for commuters.
While in the Delhi Metro with over 150 stations PSDs are being set up only in six major stations for now, all the 19 underground stations of the Chennai Metro Rail will have this facility.
When the Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety (CMRS) and his team inspected the stations from Thirumangalam to Nehru Park, they also checked if there was a risk of passengers getting trapped between these doors.
An official of the CMRS said, “We checked whether there was a risk by placing our feet between the PSD door before it closed; it instantly detected it and opened. Passengers won’t get stuck in between. Then, we asked [officials of Chennai Metro Rail Limited] what if the dupatta or saree of a commuter gets stuck in between, and they said the door is manually opened by the station controller.”
Since there are CCTV cameras in most parts of the station and inside the trains too, the driver and station controller can see when such incidents take place.
Officials of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) said they have carried out several test runs in this regard to check if the PSD doors work.
Reduced power consumption
Another major reason for installing this facility is that it greatly reduces electricity consumption, officials said.
“All the underground stations are air-conditioned, so the electricity consumption will go through the roof without this PSD. If not for this, the cool air will escape and run along the entire tunnel for several km and consumption will be exorbitantly high. As such, the electricity consumption of the underground stretch may be triple that of the elevated one,” an official said.
When asked why this facility has not been installed in the two elevated stretches, currently in operation — Koyambedu to Alandur and Little Mount to Chennai airport — they said it would be cost intensive and hence, there were no plans to install them in the stations that are over the ground.