AS RAILWAY officials began the survey of 126 railway stations in the city to take stock of passenger amenities, commuters have raised red flags over the existing foot overbridges, sizes of platforms and the need for more facilities. The survey commenced three days after 23 people were killed in a stampede at the Elphinstone Road railway station foot overbridge.
Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had called for the formation of the multi-disciplinary units which will conduct audit inspections at their respective suburban stations in the divisions. These units contain eight teams which will have three officers each from commercial, engineering and security department of the railways. They will analyse the peak hour entry and exit point rush and suggest solutions, analyse requirements of additional bridges, escalators and submit a report to the railway Board by October 9.
“All the requirements must be aimed at easing peak hour rush in the morning and evening. We not only need additional bridges but also decks to connect these bridges so that a single bridge does not get overcrowded. The bridges must especially be free of hawkers,” Johnson Mendonca, a regular commuter, said.
Commuters at stations including Kurla, Diva, Thane and Ghatkopar have urged widening of main bridges that connect two lines, or the railways to Metro for the ease of commuters. Many have asked for escalators at specific areas and making stations disabled-friendly. “Specific bridges at the stations need widening on an immediate basis to cater to the rush. More ticket booking offices and installation of CCTV cameras for better surveillance is the need of the hour,” Adesh Bhagat, president of the Diva Railway Pravasi Sangh, said
However, some have complained that the teams do not interact too closely with regular commuters. “They must talk to commuters and ask about the inconveniences they face. Simply glancing through the stations and clicking pictures but without asking regular commuters about the problems faced will not act as a solution. There must be a detailed study done,” said Kushru Bangow, a Bandra resident who has been travelling on the local train for 15 years.
The report will aid railway officials in seeking additional railway board sanctions for improved passenger amenities at suburban railway stations. The general managers can sanction the cost of the additional amenities after approval from the financial manager within fifteen days.
“We are ready to co-operate with the railways on the work they are doing. However, there must be sincerity and complete focus on achieving results. Many reports in the past, though tried to analyse the crowds, failed to give any output,” Subhash Gupta, a railway activist, said.