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Commuters throng local trains

On a day when the entire vehicular traffic came to a grinding halt,the Pune division of the Central Railway was caught napping as thousands of commuters risked their life on jam-packed local trains.

Written by MANOJ MORE | Pune |
June 18, 2009 3:00:10 am

On a day when the entire vehicular traffic came to a grinding halt,the Pune division of the Central Railway was caught napping as thousands of commuters risked their life on jam-packed local trains. No arrangements were made to run additional local trains; neither was any thought given to ease commuters’ travails on a day when lakhs of warkaris descended in the city. Equally at fault was the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd as it did not deem it fit to seek help from the railways.

Officials of the Central Railway remained clueless as commuters slugged it out. “If a proposal to run extra local trains had come from the transport undertaking,we would have thought about it,” divisional railway manager Prabhat Sahay said when asked whether the PMPML had made any request to them to take care of commuters. On whether the railways should have taken any such initiative on their own,Sahay merely said the railways work as per its schedule.

PMPML chairman and managing director Nitin Khade said he was not aware whether the transport undertaking has made any such request and said he was not in town. PMPML traffic manager Sunil Gawli confirmed that no such request has been made.

The PMPML bus services ground to a halt on the day and when thousands of city commuters rushed to railway stations on the Pune-Lonavala section,they too were choc-a-block. Anxious passengers could be seen trying to board trains to places like Dehu Road,Akurdi,Pimpri,Chinchwad,Khadki and Shivaji Nagar where they would have,on a normal day,gone by road.

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The queue for taking local train tickets spilled on to the roads.

And when the train arrived at the stations,many passengers boarded it without ticket. There was a mad scramble at every station with men getting into ladies’ and first class compartments.

The rail passenger organisations were left fuming. “The Central Railway runs special trains to various places outside Maharashtra,like Agra,Lucknow and Gorakhpur,but they can’t run local trains when lakhs of warkaris descend on the city.

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This only shows that the railways don’t care for commuters in Pune,” said Harsha Shah,president of Railway Pravasi Sangh.

Gulam Ali Bhaldar,president of the Chinchwad Pravasi Sangh,said the railway officials normally wake up only when accidents occur and people die. “Sometimes even untoward incidents don’t move the railways. They are so disconnected from issues such as commuter inconvenience,” said Bhaldar,who is also a Railway Board member.

“The Central Railway officials should have,by themselves,taken the initiative to run special trains today.”

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First published on: 18-06-2009 at 03:00:10 am

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