Inequality In Central & Western Railways Escalator Maintenance Costs Spark Concern

Inequality In Central & Western Railways Escalator Maintenance Costs Spark Concern

The suburban sections of both Central and Western Railways are equipped with over a hundred escalators each.

Kamal MishraUpdated: Wednesday, March 20, 2024, 08:19 PM IST
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In a recent revelation, the maintenance cost per escalator on the Central and Western Railway suburban sections has raised eyebrows, showcasing a significant gap in expenditure.

According to information obtained through a Right to Information (RTI) query filled by noted RTI activist Anil Galagali, the annual maintenance cost per escalator on Western Railway stands at a modest 1.85 lakh rupees, contrasting starkly with Central Railway's substantially higher figure of 2.97 lakh rupees. 

On closer examination, this translates to a notable daily average maintenance cost of 506 rupees per escalator on Western Railway, while Central Railway bears a hefty burden of 813 rupees per day for each escalator. The suburban sections of both Central and Western Railways are equipped with over a hundred escalators each.

Factors contributing to higher maintenance costs

When questioned about this disparity in maintenance cost, a spokesperson for Central Railway shed light on several factors contributing to the higher maintenance costs. They pointed out that not only does Central Railway cater to a larger volume of passengers compared to Western Railway, particularly in the suburban sections, but there also exists a notable difference in user demographics.

CR spokesperson highlighted that a considerable portion of Central Railway's long distance passenger base hails from rural backgrounds and may not be as familiar or comfortable with escalator usage compared to their counterparts on Western Railway. This discrepancy in user familiarity, they argue, leads to a higher frequency of breakdowns and subsequently escalates maintenance costs.

Western Railways reply to RTI query

Replying to RTI query, Western Railways Mumbai Central division revealed that escalators on its suburban section, stretching from Churchgate to Virar, faced a staggering average of 1825 closures in a year, equating to around five closures daily. Moreover, a staggering 95% of these closures were attributed to emergency stops triggered by miscreants or unknown individuals pressing the emergency button.

Similarly, a senior official, Central Railway's said that, escalators on its suburban section, stretching from CSMT to Kalyan  and CSMT to Vashi faced a staggering average of 1975 closures in a year equating to around 5.4 closures daily. Moreover, a staggering 98% of these closures were attributed to emergency stops triggered by miscreants or unknown individuals pressing the emergency button.

The stark contrast raise eyebrows

However stark contrast in maintenance costs has raised eyebrows, with Galgali expressing astonishment at the Rs 1.12 lakh difference per escalator annually between the two railway . Demanding investigation in this matter, Galgali emphasized that despite substantial expenditure on maintenance, several escalators remain non-operational, posing inconvenience to passengers.

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