Mumbai: Suburban train services on Central, trans-Harbour and Harbour lines were badly hit on Friday, with more than 150 trains being cancelled and others being delayed by 20-30 minutes, following a protest by motormen on the issue of overtime and filling of vacancies.
This disruption of train services during morning peak hours caused problems for thousands of commuters, including officegoers and students. “Trains getting delayed on the Central line is now routine for us. We keep asking why trains are delayed but it feels as though railway authorities are not the least bit concerned about delays and our problems, not to mention our precious time being wasted,” said commuter Shweta Singh.
Another commuter said as the trains were getting cancelled at Thane station without any announcements, it leads to chaos on platforms and inside coaches. “I was waiting at Platform No 1 at Thane station since 10.30 am. But five or six trains were cancelled. I was forced to take a fast train from Thane Platform No. 6. I finally boarded a fast train at 11.40 am but it took around an hour to reach CSMT,” added a commuter.
The disruption of services was caused due to a protest called by motormen who are attached to the Central Railway Mazdoor Sangh (CRMS), which had written to the CR administration on immediately filling the 229 vacant motormen’s posts. The CRMS also raised the matter regarding the indifferent attitude of the Disciplinary Authority in Mumbai division ignoring the various contributory factors while deciding the punishment in ‘signal passed at danger’ (SPAD) cases.
The CRMS claimed it was told these vacancies would be filled on an urgent and emergent basis, with 48 slots to be filled immediately. It was also assured that harsh punishment such as “removal from service” and “compulsory retirement” imposed on motormen working under such compelling circumstances would be reviewed, considering the contributory factors.
When asked if CR would revoke the punishment would the motormen work overtime, Divisional Railway Manager SK Jain said, “It is our internal matter, so we cannot comment. All train services were normal in the morning.”
Up and Down confusion: CR In denial mode
“I was on a CSMT slow local, which stopped abruptly between Byculla and Sandhurst Road for 15 minutes. When it reached Sandhurst Road station, it was stalled because there was a Dombivli slow train standing a few metres away on the same track. It took 30 minutes to sort out the situation,” said media professional Radhika Sharma, who was late to work because of the disruption. However, CR officials dismissed this as a rumour.