Broken steps, unclean platforms, closed counters are some of the problems commuters face in the ‘Prince of the Suburbs’
This central suburb has a parallel in Bandra with respect to the value of commercial and residential real estate. Mulund station though is in bad shape.
Track crossing at Mulund is a common happening due to bad condition of foot overbridges. Pic/Sameer Markande
Media professional Ashish Jagasia who commutes to Parel every day from the station says, “Lack of cleanliness is one of Mulund station’s biggest drawback. There are few dustbins on the station, especially on platform 4. The washroom here, has been closed for the past five years now, this makes it very unhealthy as people urinate and defecate on the tracks.”
Gap between platform and train is uneven
Look out, please
The steps that lead to the foot overbridge are broken in a number of places which makes it very perilous for those in a rush to catch a train. Sharmeen Patra, 33, a manager who works at Wadala, says, “I am seven months pregnant, to avoid any risk because of the bad steps at Mulund station, I prefer to use Nahur station.
The Mulund station board
Even though the station is further away from my house and it costs me more by rickshaw I want to be safe rather than sorry.” College student Candice Mendonza says, “The bridges all get very crowded and the one that connects platform 4 is too narrow.
The ticket windows at the station
If this bridge was broadened, it would be really nice to climb with ease. This problem is acute in the evenings during peak hours. Men use the narrow bridge as an excuse to molest and push women.” The height of the platform and train is uneven at places on platforms 1 and 4 says Pankaj Kastur, 60.
The shopkeeper who commutes to Byculla says, “Getting off at Mulund during peak hours is dangerous, as the crowd is a lot and I am forced almost every day to get out of the moving train. The uneven platform towards the ends makes it very difficult to get off without falling. At my age, it is even more dangerous.”
The dustbins at Mulund station are always overflowing according to Stephanie Lopes. She says, “The ragpickers and urchins are a huge menace at the station. They pick the ‘useful’ garbage from the bins and end up emptying all of it on the platform premises.
Those commuters who have taken care to throw their garbage properly still have to face an unhealthy station because of this.” The station’s toilets are in a bad condition as well. Parul Mehta, a fashion designer, says, “The toilets make me feel nauseous.
They don’t have water and are stinking. The ladies compartment on platforms 2-3 is near the toilet which makes it very difficult to stand there and wait for the train. Even if I want to go to the washroom, I prefer getting late and going to the toilet at the shopping centre nearby rather than use the station toilets.”
Behram Pande, a mechanic says, “Mulund station had a cleanliness drive a few months ago, but that was only for that time period that the station was clean. After that, littering and spitting resumed. The biggest problem at this station is that many men urinate towards the Thane side of the station on the tracks since the toilets are in a bad state. This makes the tracks and platforms stink of urine.”
Researcher Nitesh Nagesh Naik who frequents Mulund station for work says, “The situation when it comes to ticket counters in the West and East are both pathetic. Out of the six at a time only three or less are open. The railway employees like long queues for tickets rather than people peacefully buying tickets as and when they need it. The smart card machines are a relief as they work well.”
Jigyasa Pandey, a dentist says, “In the last few months, the number of smart card machines have been increased at the booking counters at Mulund. This is a huge relief and time saver for commuters.” Mulund station needs more benches according to Jagasia who says, “Being a major station, there is a lot of commuter traffic at Mulund during beak hours, but sadly, the benches and fans on the platforms are insufficient.
As a result, the wait for a train become more stressful with no place to rest on hot afternoons.” Rickshaw availability outside the station is bad with many refusing to ply by meter. Also, the traffic at peak hours on the station road is too much which makes walking on the roads perilous.
The medical room works well and provides first aid as and when needed. The lighting at the station is very good with no dark areas, female commuters find travelling to and from Mulund safe at all times. The food stalls are also well located, which helps hungry commuters.
If railway authorities address the sanitation, broken steps, platform wear and tear issues, provide for more dustbins and benches, Mulund will be an ideal Central Railway station. Let us wait for a Mulund makeover.
This is part of our ongoing series on railway stations seen through the eyes of commuters
>> Broken steps on the railway bridges.
>> There is a huge gap between the platform and the tracks.
>> Ticket counters are closed often.
>> Toilets are in a bad condition.
>> Insufficient dustbins and fans.