WHILE RAIN lashed the city on Sunday, officials from the Central Railway (CR) were at loggerheads with the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) over water-logging of tracks between Thane and Kalwa stations in the morning hours. Road widening works undertaken by the municipality had obstructed the natural drainage line near the tracks, the railways complained.
On Sunday, services on the slow corridor on CR were suspended since early morning due to water-logging on the tracks. Stretches between Kurla-Kalyan section and Kalwa station were witness to water-submerged tracks till the early morning hours. “Sections between Kurla and Kalyan, also the tracks at Kalwa station were water logged. Water receded and traffic started on up line towards Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) at Kalwa by 9.46 am and at 10.35 am on the down line. Traffic on the other sections between Thane and Kalwa resumed at 10.25 am,” said a CR official.
“Flooding at Kalwa station is due to construction of the concrete road by TMC. This resulted in obstruction to natural flow of water and flooding nearby areas and railway tracks. TMC is advised to improve drainage,” read an official tweet from Divisional Railway Manager’s handle on Sunday. However, officials from TMC said that the cleaning of culverts near the tracks was never their responsibility.
“I visited the spot to have a word with railways about how we were at fault with their tracks being water-logged. As railway land does not come under the stretch, they cannot blame us for the damage. Due to the heavy water flow, the muck which they removed and parked near the tracks again came inside the gaps causing blockage.The logging was never caused due to the incapacity of our precautionary measures but theirs,” said Thane Mayor Meenakshi Shinde.
“Due to heavy rainfall, a large capacity of water came from the mountain wall of Parsik tunnel on to the tracks. While the culverts made by the TMC were wide enough for the flow, our culverts, being very old, were not wide enough to contain the heavy flow. Otherwise the size of the culverts are sufficient to handle minimal flow of water, we have decided to now widen them to contain further heavy water flow rush,” said a senior CR official.
Both railways and TMC have agreed to work together on improving the condition of culverts below the tracks. “We have decided to undertake micro-tunnelling work to ensure the culverts present below the tracks get wider. This will ensure rain water escapes the tracks during heavy rainfall. We will share the expenditure equally and complete work within eight days,” said Sunil Chavan, additional municipal commissioner (TMC), adding that the total cost of the work would be Rs 50 lakh.
Railway officials also blamed the garbage dumped near the tracks and the incapacity of stormwater drains for the obstruction of flow of rain water. “Heavy rainfall, obstruction to natural drainage by garbage, inadequate capacity of stormwater drains, blocked outlets by slums affects smooth and quick discharge of rain water. Appeal to all to dispose garbage in proper bins,” read another tweet from the Divisional Railway Manager’s handle.
Railway officials further said that pumps have been provided at 24 vulnerable/low lying areas to remove water from the tracks during heavy rainfall. Monsoon precautionary measures which include cleaning culverts, nullahs and pump provisions were in place by May 31, officials said “Approximately 100 kilometre of drains, 81 bridges and culverts were cleaned and nearly two lakh muck bags were lifted from tracks in the past two months as preparations by the Mumbai division of CR.
Special services also ran between CST and Dombivli to aid passengers,” said Sunil Udasi, Chief Public Relations Officer, CR. The CR had also been affected by a mega block of six hours on Sunday for the construction of girder of road-overbridge near Thakurli station.