The Central and Western Railway will be constructing 70 new escalators at stations in the city in the next couple of years, for which the Railway Ministry has allocated Rs 3.40 crore in the budget. According to railway officials, these escalators will help senior citizen and the disabled and help curb track deaths.
Under the budgetary provision, of the 70 escalators, 40 will be installed at Central Railway (CR) stations and 30 on the Western Railway (WR). At present, there are five escalators at CR stations and 23 along the WR.
According to an official, “People, especially the disabled, senior citizens, pregnant women and children are inconvenienced while using foot overbridges to reach stations. Considering this, the railway has decided to add more escalators.”
The ministry has proposed Rs 1.85 crore for CR and R1.55 crore for WR. As per data available, at CR, stations like CST, Ghatkopar, Lonavala and LTT will get escalators. Along WR, Mumbai Central, Vadodara, Ratlam, Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Bhavnagar will have five escalators each.
According to officials, all A-1, A grade stations and those close to prominent shrines would be taken up on priority. Activists have welcomed the move but demanded better maintenance of these escalators. Earlier, there were complaints of non-functioning of escalators at Thane, Vikhroli and Andheri stations. Railway authorities spend about R1 lakh on the maintenance of these escalators.
Citizen activist Nikhil Desai, said, “The idea is good. The only issue being the breakdown of these escalators due to improper maintenance.”