After a backlash from commuters over air-conditioning systems being switched off in the underground stations, Chennai Metro Rail has begun installing fans as an interim arrangement.
According to Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) officials, they purchased about 40 fans recently and have started installing them in the underground stations.
“We have already fixed fans in the Anna Nagar East Metro station. We plan to put up around four fans at the platform level of each underground station. In one or two stations, we have considered fixing them at the concourse level too,” said an official.
“We understand passengers are sweating it out while waiting for trains inside the stations, but unfortunately, when people don’t have water even to drink, we cannot demand more water for air-conditioning the stations,” the official said.
The lone underground station where air-conditioning continues to function is the Chennai Central Metro station. This is because unlike the other 18 underground stations built at a depth of about 18-20 m below ground, this one goes as deep as 28 m. As against an elevated station that needs 3,000 litres of water a day, an underground station requires 9,000 litres and a major portion of this goes for air-conditioning. “We continue to check temperatures and oxygen levels underground and it is safe for passengers. There are also airhandling units,” another official said.
The CMRL had switched off air-conditioning systems at underground stations due to the prevailing water scarcity in the city.