Mumbai: A month after the stampede on the bridge at Elphinstone Road station, railway activists have stressed the need to improve punctuality of trains to reduce crowds. The activists also raised the need to fasten the pace of infrastructure works related to widening of bridges for commuters.
The activists said the delay in local train services reaching a particular station causes over-crowding on the FOBs and platforms. “The crowd is dispersed within a few minutes after the commuters alight at a particular station. There is over-crowding on the railway platforms when a local train is delayed to reach a particular station. Hence, the railway officials must first focus on improving the punctuality of the local trains,” said Anil Galgali, a Right to Information activist.
On October 25, the audit team formed by the western railways recommended construction of at least 12 additional Foot-Over-Bridges (FOB) and a new sky walk connecting the new proposed FOB at Elphinstone Road bridge to avoid congestion during peak hours. The railway officials have already floated the tender this week for constructing these additional bridges on the western line, however, construction work will begin only after January 2018.
The railway activists raised the need to fasten the pace of sanctioning of the infrastructure works related to widening of bridges. “The works related to widening of bridges and constructing skywalks need to be done at the earliest for managing crowd at the FOB’s. The delay in the works could worsen the crowd management at crowded stations like Dadar,” added Galgali.
The activists also raised the need to improve the quality of the announcements made on the railway station and FOB. At present, there are continuous announcements made on the stations on the western line and FOB. “It is the responsibility of the station master to monitor the announcements made on the railway stations. The railways need to check the sound levels as important announcements related to emergency situation are not audible,” said Vishwanath Dhatrak, Former President of Federation of Passenger Association.
The commuters at Elphinstone Road station and Dadar station appreciated the no hawker zone declared by the railways. “It is pleasant sight on the FOBs’ and railway platforms as it is free from hawkers. It is important that railways continue this anti-hawkers drive and appoint staffers to monitor them,” said Alhad Apte, a regular commuter at Dadar station.