Mumbai: Railways' Monsoon Preparedness Criticized As Services Disrupted By Heavy Rains, Garbage Issues Persist

Mumbai: Railways' Monsoon Preparedness Criticized As Services Disrupted By Heavy Rains, Garbage Issues Persist

The railways claim of being "fully prepared to brace the monsoon" has been fully exposed. Central Railway specially has come in for lot of flak the heavy disruption of its services on Monday.

S BalakrishnanUpdated: Wednesday, July 10, 2024, 02:38 AM IST
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Mumbai: Railways' Monsoon Preparedness Criticized As Services Disrupted By Heavy Rains, Garbage Issues Persist |

Mumbai: The railways claim of being "fully prepared to brace the monsoon" has been fully exposed. Central Railway specially has come in for lot of flak the heavy disruption of its services on Monday. A documents released a few days ago, it was claimed that "Western & Central Railways are actively engaged in monsoon preparations with a mission-oriented approach for the maintenance and upkeep of railway assets such as tracks, mechanical signalling, electrical equipment etc."

But Monday's rains revealed how ill prepared the railways, specially Central Railway was. The divisional regional managers of the railways claimed that "all tasks have been successfully completed within the set time frame to ensure uninterrupted train services during monsoon season. The reality, however was that of a metropolis brought to its knees thanks to the let down by the railways."

The rail administration touted that its introduced "multiple innovations for monsoon preparedness. It was claimed that over three lakh cubic metres of garbage was collected with JCBs and Poclain machines and disposed. If that was the case then why tons of garbage right on the tracks between Wadala and GTB Nagar, Chunabatti, Chembur-Govandi was not picked up? These were precisely areas which witnessed heavy water logging on Monday forcing Central Railway to suspend services for several hours.

The railways said 14 automatic rain gauges have been installed to gather rain data in real time and flood gauges have been provided at 98 locations. Central Railway specifically claimed that it has "developed point machine covers, which have been implemented at 231 flood-prone locations...ensuring widespread protection and reliability."

But these technical innovations were not of much use given the heavy presence of garbage on tracks. The FPJ has been highlighting this problem for the past several months, in vain. The garbage is thrown daily with impunity by slum-dwellers living near the tracks.

The Central Railway spokesperson put the onus on the media to educate slum-dwellers. But it is a deep mystery why the railway Act is not invoked and strict action taken against the erring slum-dwellers who held an entire city to ransom on Monday. Several activists like Anil Galgali have been complaining about the non-cleaning of nallahs at Kurla, but there was hardly any response from Central Railway.

Meanwhile, activists have expressed surprise over the assurance given by the railways to the Supreme Court regarding the safety of hoardings on railway land. Said Madhu Kotian, president, Mumbai Rail Pravasi Sangh: "The railway authorities should take responsibility for the safety of commuters." He said the size of the hoardings should not be more than 30'x30'. But at present they are over 45'x45'. He said a Ghatkopar-type hoarding tragedy will have serious implications for the safety of commuters. Samir Jhaveri, activist, said the Ghatkopar hoarding tragedy should serve as a wake up call for the railways since it has several hoardings near the railway tracks all over Mumbai.

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