mid-day editorial: Stop rail rokos, put Mumbai back on track

Railways, integral to the very fabric of life in this country, especially Mumbai, have become a soft target, of late. According to a report in this paper, 139 train cancellations were registered in the last 10 months (between April 2016 to January 2017). Not surprisingly, it threw life out of gear for lakhs who depend on the city's lifeline.

But it seems individuals who desperately need train services to work seamlessly are ones to disrupt railway movement with rail rokos and other similar protests, which invariably end up on the tracks.

Ironically, the causes behind the protests may not even be remotely connected to railways. From slum demolition to delay in road construction or to protest some legislation, people agitate on myriad subjects on the tracks. Of course, rail rokos over delayed train services are an unfortunate but regular feature now.

Perhaps, it's all about the eyeballs such protests attract — since they affect so many lives — that makes rail rokos a popular form of protest.

But any disruption in movement — on the tracks, in air or on the road — directly hits the fast-paced lives of Mumbaikars. And railways form a vital artery in the city.

People must realise that by targeting railways, they are targeting themselves, for the common man stands to be affected most by train disruptions. It takes hours to get services back on track and even then, trains are impossibly crowded and 'rail rage' akin to 'road rage' cases increase, as frustration levels touch mercurial levels.

Consequently, modes of transportation become punching bags for aggravated individuals. While some public vehicles revolt against this rage by going off the roads, some
install preventive measures such as grills on windows. It is time to roko the mindless rail rokos.

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