Encroachments on Parsik hill have weakened the tunnel. FILE PIC
Encroachments on Parsik hill have weakened the tunnel. FILE PIC

The rain has washed away another set of hollow promises. Two months ago, the Thane forest department (FD) and the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) promised to survey and remove the slums that had mushroomed above the Parsik hill tunnel, but nothing has been done yet.

On Sunday, too, they were one of the reasons behind the water-logging at both Thane and Kalwa stations. Now, the FD has said it is working on plans for the demolition.

Also read: Bombay HC raps government for casual approach in safeguarding Thane tunnel

A lot of trouble
On April 20, mid-day had reported about the FD and TMC's plan to survey the slums and remove them.

On June 22, passengers' associations even met Ravindra Goyal, divisional railway manager (Mumbai), Central Railway, asking authorities to expedite the demolition process over Parsik tunnel.

Also read: Bombay HC seeks govt stand on hutments over tunnel in Thane

"These illegal slums on Parsik hill have been causing a lot of trouble for rail commuters. They were one of the reasons behind water-logging at Thane and Kalwa stations on Sunday. We met CR authorities only a couple of days ago, urging them to improve the conditions on the Thane-Diva stretch," said Madhu Kotian, president of Mumbai Rail Pravasi Sangh.

Demolition to begin soon
Meanwhile, FD officials said they would begin the demolition soon. "We will carry out a major demolition drive on Parsik hill. At present, we are working on the plans for the same," said an FD official. The Parsik hill area belongs to the FD.

Also read: Thane's Parsik Hill rail tunnel marred by problems that risk safety of trains

There are more than a 100 slums on this hill that have weakened the rail tunnel — Asia's oldest — built in 1873. Last monsoon, a portion of the retaining wall — that prevents the debris and garbage from falling on tracks — collapsed, leading to disruption of train services on the main line on Central Railway.

Water-logging at Thane and Kalwa stations and the gradual suspension of train services for 150 minutes was also seen on Sunday owing to heavy rain. Central Railway officials said the situation would have been worse had it been a weekday, but since it was a Sunday and a mega block was called, the after effects of the disruption weren't as much.

1873 Year the Parsik tunnel was built