Thane: Railway passengers association from Thane, demands for more frequency of local services on Central Railway (CR), with safety norms, amid pandemic. The association who have highlighted this issue by writing to state government for several times in past has also demanded to run shuttle services between Kalyan-Karjat/Kasara. The members of the association has also announced to soon hold protest, if the above demands are not fulfilled.
"The demand has been put forth, since the unlock phase has been implemented amid Pandemic, as not everyone afford the private transport to reach their workplace. Hence, the demand to increase the frequency of local services has been constantly put forth to the state government by the association. Though the local services have resumed with increase in the number of frequency, however it is not sufficient to accommodate the passengers traveling daily, with social distancing norms," said Nandkumar Deshmukh, president of Railway passengers association, Thane.
According to the Deshmukh, the suburban cities Titwala, Badlapur, Asangaon, Karjat and Kasara consists maximum number of passengers, who have to face difficulties reaching their work place towards CSMT area.
"The present number of services are not enough to accommodate the passengers traveling beyond Kalyan station. Hence, we demanded to start shuttle services during peak hours between Kalyan to Karjat/Kasara. While, the running of 15 coaches local train and replacing few local services to mail train, in peak hours will help accommodating maximum passengers. These were among the major demands which were made before State government and Central Railway (CR)," another member from the association.
While, the lack of public transport and limited number of local services are forcing the passengers to shell more and risk their life by travelling in autos violating social distancing norms.
"Everyday we can easily spot commuters from suburban areas beyond Kalyan, traveling in auto-rickshaw which accommodate around 7-8 passengers in single auto. This highlights violation of social distancing norms amid Pandemic. Hence, after noticing the same the above demand regarding increase in the train services with all safety norms and social distancing has been put forth, before CR and state government. Incase, we don't receive proper response, regarding fulfilling these demands, we may soon hold protest highlighting the same issues," added Deshmukh.
"Due to less number of local train services and lack of other modes of public transport from cities like Ambernath, Badlapur and Titwala, many choose to reach Kalyan railway station by traveling in auto-rickshaw without following social distancing," said Vivek Mhatre, 45, a local resident from Ambernath.
Until the lockdown was implemented, total 1774 were regular local services running by the CR. However, since local services has resumed with less frequency after lockdown, CR have slowly increased the number of local services with consultation of State government, amid Pandemic. Hence, at present total 1572 services are running on CR(including main line and Harbour line).
"We are increasing the number of local train services to meet the demand of added categories as identified by state government. To ensure, social distancing and observe all norms of Covid-19, we have increased the services to 88% of the total capacity and if needed will be increased to 100%," said Shivaji Sutar, chief public relations officer, Central Railway, Mumbai.