THE Western Railways has informed the Bombay High Court that the work of bridging the gap between the edges of platforms and the footboards of trains by increasing the heights of suburban platforms till Virar would be completed by August 2017. The work beyond Virar will, however, take till December 2017.
Till now, the work of increasing the height and installing tactile tiling on 69 of the 144 platforms has been completed. The work on the remaining 75 platforms is yet to be completed. The Western Railways affidavit stated, “The work of raising platforms involve extensive labour work which can be undertaken during night and non-peak hours.” A division bench of Justice A S Oka and Justice Prakash Naik was hearing a bunch of public interest litigations seeking directions to the railway administration to make local trains disabled-friendly.
The work on platforms beyond Virar, between Vaitarna and Dahanu Road station, will be completed by December 2017. The work of putting proper illumination on all signages will be completed by April 15. Other works of making ramps at entrances, installing railings, making low-level booking windows and disabled-friendly toilets will be completed by July 2016.
The Central Railways has said it would complete the work of raising platform height by this year end. Other facilities like toilets, low-level booking windows etc have been provided at 36 stations, and at the remaining 26 stations — having island platforms — work will be completed by June 2017.
With various officers of the railways having given undertakings for ensuring completion of the works, the court said the timeframe should be adhered to. “Names of officials responsible for carrying out works have been given. They should ensure the timelines are adhered to,” said the HC, while adding it would monitor the work and take appropriate directions in case of any delay.
During the previous hearing, the court had pulled up the railways over the gap between platforms, stating that railways should not require several orders from the court to increase the height of platforms.
It had ordered the general managers of central and western railways to file personal affidavits specifying how much time would be required to complete the work. The bench has also sought personal undertakings from senior railway officials responsible for the work, so that they could be hauled for contempt of court, if they failed.