It’s a space jam like no other at Parel railway station, ever since fencing along the tracks forced passengers to keep off the rail lines and take to its narrow foot over bridge (FOB). After a slew of complaints were received from the passengers, especially women, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) has decided to deploy personnel at the station to ensure that people don’t get injured in the stampede-like situation that is the norm on the bridge.
Earlier, the problem was the slew of passengers who risked their lives by using the tracks to reach their platforms, especially during peak hours. But now that the fences have come up, preventing commuters from slipping onto the tracks and forcing them to use the FOB, a new problem seems to have cropped up.
The bridge is now bursting at the seams, and the jostling and elbowing has been inconveniencing and injuring passengers. Anand Ramaswamy, a commuter, said, “The entrance to the FOB is very narrow and crowded. This is a disaster waiting to happen. During peak hours there is danger of a stampede.”
The RPF two to four RPF officers and an equal number of home guards to help commuters during peak hours. The matter came to light when some passengers decided to join their forces and lodge a complaint with the RPF. Mandar Vaze, a complainant, said, “The railway authorities should think of constructing a flyover to avert a catastrophe. There are people stumbling and falling down the steps due to the mad rush. Female commuters especially are at great risk. The bridge is very small and when female commuters from the first coach dismount and start walking towards the bridge, the male passengers start rushing past them, jostling them,” he said.
Rajni, another complainant, said, “I have seen many incidents of women slipping from the stairs, and male commuters elbowing past us on the bridge. They hurt us in the process and the bridge is so cramped that we find it impossible to walk.”
Alok Bohra, senior divisional security commissioner, said, “We have placed our men for passenger security. During peak hours there is lots of congestion.”