Hundreds of passengers and railway staff on Chennai Central railway station’s Platform No 1 pass by her every day. But nobody stopped to look at the weak and malnourished woman who was lying there for over 10 days. She has raging fever and is unable to move.
A group of like-minded loco pilots felt a need for an organisation to help the hundreds of destitute and orphaned people who make railway stations their home — sometimes even without food and proper clothing. D Kulararasan, a loco pilot and one of the founders of the organisation, Good Samaritan Saviours, says, the woman caught his attention when he got off the locomotive.
“She had a high temperature and had passed motion and was in a bad condition. I wanted to help her, but realised it would cause me a lot of legal problems. I did not know how to go about it. When I contacted an NGO, they came and helped rehabilitate her,” recalled the pilot.
Members of the organisation say that money is a constraint in helping these people. “So all of us decided to contribute `200 every month. We spend the money for rehabilitating the destitute. We help NGOs to take care of the people we rescue,” explains G Rajapandian, one of the members of the organisation.
Started in 2004, the group has helped over 125 destitute and orphaned people at railway stations in the last year.
“We began with hardly 10 people, but now we have over 50 loco-pilots in the organisation. People who see a destitute person at railway stations across Chennai and other cities give us a call,” adds G Rajapandian, another member.
Saying that the group has learned all the legal procedures to rehabilitate such people, Kuralarasan adds, they take turns in completing the rehabilitation formalities. “We work 102 hours a fortnight running locomotives, and hardly get time for such things. In case, we need to attend to destitute people, whoever gets a two-hour break does what’s needed. The pilot leaves after two hours and hands over to the next pilot who gets his break,” he says.
Many of the rescued people have been reunited with their families. “One among them was a female graduate, who was rescued from Park railway station,” says another members of loco-pilots.