Mumbai: Practice of growing unwanted grass, weeds, vegetables using drainage water along railway lines will now be discontinued

Shashank RaoUpdated: Thursday, July 07, 2022, 11:41 PM IST
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Mumbai: Practice of growing unwanted grass, weeds, vegetables using drainage water along the railway lines will now be discontinued | - Salman Ansari

The practice of growing unwanted grass and weeds and vegetables using drainage water along the railway lines; will now be discontinued. The railway board is looking at cultivating medicinal herbs and flower plantations on these lands. In fact, sources in Central Railway said that they will call tenders this week for the same.

On Mumbai’s suburban section on both Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT)-Kasara/Panvel/Karjat stretch on the Central Railway and Churchgate-Dahanu route of Western Railway; do we see green patches haphazardly being grown. These scattered portions and patches of land along rail tracks are brown and green throughout the year. In fact, there are unwanted weeds and wildflowers that also grow cause issues while cutting as part of the railway’s pre-monsoon activities.

The railways give these patches of land on the lease after proper tendering who are allowed to grow vegetables. However, senior railway officials claim that one of the biggest issues that come forth is the quality of produce. And so a new policy will be drafted and tenders for appointing experts will be out for cultivating herbs and plants with medicinal properties and flower blooming plants on these patches of railway land along the tracks.

“We have received complaints in the past about water being used from passing gutter or nullah along the rail tracks, which are directed on these portions of land where vegetables and other greens are cultivated. Now, there is a proposal to cultivate and produce medicinal herbs and flower-producing plants on these lands,” explained a railway official.

These plants will be ensured that they do not overgrow and stipulated height is maintained. “We will call tenders for this week itself. These plants will also enable us to create barricades and boundaries that would prevent people from crossing tracks,” said an official from CR. They have 150 acres of land that is along the rail tracks and is currently used for producing vegetables and other farming. These include stretches of Kurla-Ghatkopar, Thakurli, near Parsik Tunnel, Dadar etc.

It would also prevent encroachments on rail land as medicinal plants and properties shall be thoroughly monitored by the agencies which are given contract. Encroachment on rail land is an age old problem that becomes difficult to evacuate as years pass-by. Plus, the contractor will be expected to ensure that the land is not dumped with garbage and muck as otherwise it will affect his produce of plants producing medicinal herbs and flowers.

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