Several passenger associations of the city have alleged that for over a month now,the Pune-Mumbai Deccan Queen Express has been reaching Mumbai about 20-25 minutes late every day. Instead of reaching Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) at the scheduled 10.30 am,it has been arriving there at 10.50 am or even later,they say.
Hemant Tapale,Pune-Mumbai Railway Pravasi Sangh,said,The Deccan Queen is the most convenient for Pune residents who work in Mumbai and travel on this route daily. At least for the last one month,the train has been reaching Mumbai at least 20-25 minutes late. With biometric attendance in most government offices now,if were late,it is counted as half a day and we have bear cuts in our salaries.
Vishal Agarwal,divisional railway manager,Central Railways Pune division,said,Deccan Queen leaves Pune railway station at 7.15 am every day. Our jurisdiction ends at Malavali. As per my knowledge,there are no problems from our end. I cannot comment on the position of the train from Lonavala onwards as Mumbai divisions jurisdiction starts from there.
Some passenger associations claim that Mumbai division now gives priority to local trains and intercity trains have to wait for arrival at platforms there. Mumbai has 1,587 suburban trains,including the 100 that were added in last years Railway Budget. This financial year,another 150 suburban trains were announced for Mumbai. Pune passengers say this would only add to their problems.
Harsha Shah,chairperson,Railway Pravasi Group,said,There was a time when people adjusted the time on their wristwatches according to the arrival of Deccan Queen at CST. But now,the Mumbai division gives greater priority to local trains than to intercity trains from Pune,Nashik,Chiplun,Ratnagiri,Surat,Ahmedabad,Wapi,etc. For years,we have been demanding a train that starts from Pune at 6.30 am and reaches Mumbai by 10 am,but nothing has been done.
She added that for most Pune residents who work in Mumbai,Sinhagad Express is not convenient as it leaves Pune at 6.10 am. In Mumbai,it is not difficult for a person to reach the railway station before 6 am. However,in Pune,it is difficult and unsafe,especially for women. There are few buses early in the morning and for most people,it would mean boarding the bus around 5.15 am. Railway officials of both divisions need to keep these practical problems in mind and adjust train timings accordingly, she said.