Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Thursday recommended change of timing in all the offices to ease the overcrowding of local trains in Mumbai and its suburbs. Apart from that he also gave his consent for the two elevated roads between between CST to Panvel and Churchgate to Virar.
The long awaited MUTP-3 also have been discussed and given nod in principle, he indicated. A special purpose vehicle (SVP) with an objective to have an integrated approach to all projects with the participation of railways, state government, municipal corporations and local authorities would be constituted to address the problems related to projects and waste management etc.
The minister said, “I strongly believe we should stagger the working hours to even out the crowd in local trains. In Mumbai, it is noticed that majority of the office going crowd peaks between 8am to 10 am in the morning. And in evening after the office work it again peaks between 5.30pm to 7.30 pm.” If the offices both corporate and government space out their working hour schedule a couple of hours ahead or after depending on their requirement, it would go a long way to ease the overcrowding in the trains.
Prabhu held a meeting with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at Mantralaya to discuss the problems of commuters in trains and also long pending projects.
Speaking to the media at the BJP headquarter in Mumbai, Prabhu said,“I had a very fruitful meeting with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis at Mantralaya today. As was promised we reviewed and discussed major projects and how to go about them in the coming days.”
Prabhu who is well versed with Mumbai said, “ I understand the issues of city and local trains. There are two aspects to addressing the overcrowding in local trains. One is to increase to the supply as per demand which would mean increase the number of train services. Another is to work out a least cost solution. Now, I believe we should reschedule working hours across the offices to phase out the crowd in trains. And it would apply to all government offices as well as corporate sectors.”
He admitted, the decision of staggered working hours cannot be taken by him and that it would be the initiative from concerned offices and state government.
Prabhu recalled, “In the past when I was the union energy minister in NDA government, I had suggested the staggering of office hours as one of the aspect to tackle crowd management in local trains.” In case of power also we face the same problems. The power demand peaks between 7am to 11 am in the mornings and 6pm to 9 pm in the evenings.
Although two issues are different, I believe non-peak hours trains often don’t have full capacity passengers. So, if a little time adjustments are made things could be better.
But there are other railway projects like increasing the railway services, maintenance of platforms and waste disposal. He said, “As the railway minister I believe every state should take a decision on projects they want on priority and work out with us.” And also on solid waste management there would be a greater coordination between railways, BMC and state authorities. Afterall, waste disposed from stations needs to be further treated by the civic authorities. So, an integrated approach to the issue would be undertaken through a committee.