Maharashtra: Time runs out for Central Railway to remove dangerous boulders

Mumbai: Time is running out for the Central Railway who is removing loose boulders and rocks infringing from the Sahyadri ghats on the Kalyan-Karjat/Kasara rail stretches. There are 1000 boulders identified by the CR authorities of which they are yet to remove 400 odd boulders. And they have little time left as this work has to be done in the next 20 days.

These boulders pose a major threat to the smooth operations of trains every monsoon. These boulders usually collapse and roll down onto the rail tracks, or even worse, on the passing train. This is the reason why the authorities have set up teams to identify, scan and then remove these boulders hanging from the mountains and hills along the ghat sections.

"We have identified these boulders and are removing them with help of JCB machines. These are then transferred on top of the flat wagons that are then taken away with help of engines," said a CR official.

The preparatory work for these started in January this year by when they began scanning and identifying the loose boulders. Special gangs were created for the same who specialize in mountain climbing. By mid-March, the process of removing them began. The authorities have to ensure that these boulders do not infringe the overhead power cables and masts.

"There have been a couple of instances in past few weeks when these boulders fell on the OHE cables and masts. We had to stop work, take emergency block and rectify the situation," said another CR official.

On the Kalyan-Karjat section, they removed 400 boulders while 200 boulders were removed on Kalyan-Kasara line. The South east Khandala ghat is 28 kms long having 58 tunnels while Kasara ghat is 14 kms long with 18 tunnels. The CR authorities have also installed 60 CCTV cameras, procured drones and stationed men at these ghat sections to monitor the boulders. At places, a steel tunnel is also built to prevent boulders from collapsing on tracks.

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