The rail passenger associations, for the first time, made a detailed study on problems faced by commuters in these Covid times. One of the primary issues is overcrowding outside stations before 12 noon when they wait to enter the station premises. They have asked railways to look into this as Covid-19 cases are increasing. This comes at a time when from March 25, it will be mandatory for passengers arriving in Karnataka to carry a negative RT-PCR report.
With the second wave of Covid-19, cases rising day by day and the situation at public areas like railway stations, bus stops, and markets are getting riskier by the day. With this, Mumbai’s rail passenger associations carried out their own survey at different railway stations on both Western and Central Railways.
One of the most common problems was overcrowding outside railway stations just around noon.
“We found that there is a tremendous rush of people wanting to enter railway stations just around 12 noon. All of them are waiting for the clock to touch 12’o’clock and enter the station premises,” said Kailash Verma, member of Mumbai Rail Pravasi Sangh.
Some of the stations they visited were Andheri, Borivali, Nallasopara, Chembur, Govandi, Ghatkopar, and Kurla among the few. Other issues pertaining to services provided like working of water dispensing machines, escalators and elevators, food stalls, working of fans were also inspected.
“The water dispensing machines are not functioning at many stations. Moreover, the food stalls are not dispensing cool drinks like nimbu paani at these stations even now which can be done in paper cups,” said Subhash Gupta, president, Rail Yatri Sangh.
Currently, the people on non-essential duties are allowed to travel in local trains before 7 am, 12 noon to 4 pm and after 9 pm. However, people are overtly dismissing these timings and travel in local trains like before. Sources in railways said that they are trying to catch hold of people travelling without tickets and illegally travelling at hours when they are not supposed to.
Between June 15 last year to March 21, the Central Railway authorities caught 3.02 lakh ticketless travellers and recovered fines of Rs 10.04 crore. Off these, 2.07 lakh travellers were caught without a ticket since January this year from whom fines of Rs 6.98 crore were recovered.