With the 2012-13 Railway Budget stressing on the transformation of Panvel railway station, passenger associations say toilets, indicators and loudspeakers must be fixed first

While the emphasis on changing the face of Panvel Railway station, as proposed in the budget, is a step in the right direction, the present condition of the station has got the locals and commuters' representatives up in arms.

Travailing! The commuters have demanded an increase in the
frequency on CST-Panvel route, and want the Andheri-Panvel line to
extend up to Borivli. file pic

Passengers and rail commuter associations are insisting that the rail authorities must execute measures to facilitate basic amenities first, before they embark on multi-crore projects to transform the station. To strengthen their cause, several commuters and passenger associations have come together, and will now submit their demands to the Central Railway (CR) authorities.

They have tabled a four-page letter asking authorities to look into the shortfall at Panvel station, which they feel needs to be addressed on priority before it is developed into a hub. Local commuters plying to and fro from Panvel, which is around 60-km from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), assert that, presently, the station is in an abysmal condition. "The toilets and urinals at the stations are in a pathetic condition. The electronic indicators don't function, while platform one is underutilised," said Madhu Kotian, member, Mumbai Rail Pravasi Sangh.

Moreover, commuters have also appealed for improvement in services and their frequency. They have demanded an increase in the frequency on CST-Panvel route, and want the Andheri-Panvel line to extend up to Borivli. "We are also propositioning the running of local train services till Uran and Thal, which will assist suburban commuters to travel beyond Panvel," said J Vora, president, Janhit Pravasi Sangh (Panvel).

Railway budget
The 2012-13 Railway Budget gave the green signal for the Fast corridor project connecting CST-Panvel and the proposed airport and the Virar-Vasai-Diva-Panvel suburban line at a cost of Rs 20,000 crore. Both these lines will run AC trains.

Also the 12-coach train on Habour line, to be added to the fleet at a cost of around Rs 810 crore, has been approved in the budget. This addition in coaches is expected to increase the capacity by 33 per cent once all trains are converted to 12-coaches. Panvel is also marked for conversion into an outstation train terminus at a cost of Rs 27 crore, for which three to five new platforms to accommodate 24-coach trains will be built.