Long-distance passengers using Kurla Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) are in for relief, as Central Railway (CR) authorities are planning to throw open the entire terminus building to the public within 20 days. Yesterday, CR General Manager Subodh Jain and other senior railway officials inspected the terminus building, and confirmed the same. “We are looking at beginning full-fledged operations within 20 days,” said Jain. At present, only a part of the terminus is operational, and is in a mess with touts, cabbies and auto drivers fleecing passengers.
Once the LTT starts full operations, there will be more long-distance trains starting from here, as trains originating from Dadar could be diverted to Kurla. Also the persistent problem of unruly and fleecing drivers would be kept in check, as a designated lane for them is constructed. As such, they would have to observe lane discipline rather than haphazardly parking and obstructing vehicular movement.
The existing LTT building is spread over 3,368 sq m. There is also a prepaid taxi stand close to it. The terminus will have a 65-bed air-conditioned dormitory for passengers, AC cafeteria, and parking lot for vehicles. The building, which is worth Rs 65 crore, was to be opened much earlier. But after the fire that gutted a signal cabin at Kurla station on April 18 and severely disrupted train services for nearly three days, the opening was shelved.
Officials accepted that the fire had caused problems in the completion of this project. “We had to divert our attention towards fixing the damage caused by the fire,” said a senior CR official. The panel consisting of officials from safety, electrical and signalling departments submitted its report to the GM on Tuesday.
It has primarily blamed the signalling and telecommunication (S&T) department for the incident, but has also pointed fingers at the electrical department for not laying the cable one metre below the ground at the spot, as per the prescribed norm. An electrical cable was damaged because of the digging carried out by the S&T department to lay cables. This resulted in a short circuit in the signal cabin between Kurla and Vidyavihar and a subsequent fire. However, officials claimed that this hadn’t affected the work on the LTT as most of the work was completed by then.