Mumbai: Does Charni road station's infrastructure pose a risk to commuter's safety?

Oct 11, 2017, 18:50 IST | Rajendra B. Aklekar

A dilapidated foot overbridge, a partially demolished skywalk, to replace it with a new one, and only two entry-exit points at island platforms 2 and 3 at the extreme ends have kept Charni Road commuters on edge since long

What's Charni Road's story, do you think? Same - stagnant infrastructure, unable to cater to the rising number of commuters. In particular though, the biggest cause for concern here is a dilapidated and shaky bridge in the west, just beckoning an accident.

Lack of a central landing point on island platforms 2 and 3 results in commuters rushing to the staircases at the two extreme ends, making it a terrible situation during peak hours
Lack of a central landing point on island platforms 2 and 3 results in commuters rushing to the staircases at the two extreme ends, making it a terrible situation during peak hours

Also, even though the station is well connected in the east and west, island platforms 2 and 3 have limited access, worsening crowding during peak hours. Not to mention, the staircases are narrow too.

Also read: Mumbai: Does Ghatkopar railway station pass the safety audit?

Too little. Will it be too late?
"Platforms 2 and 3 have a strange problem - two pedestrian bridges at extreme ends. The one in the centre just passes over the platforms with no landings or access. It's madness during peak hours, when trains halt on both platforms… the crowd of people at both ends to exit and enter is terrible. If the railways built a small landing to the centre bridge, it will help to disperse the crowd," said Sanketbhai Mehta, a regular commuter.

The dilapidated FOB at the south end is in need of urgent repair
The dilapidated FOB at the south end is in need of urgent repair

Local residents' group Aamhi Girgaumkar has been fighting with the authorities, periodically following up on the issue of the dilapidated bridge for quite sometime, but in vain so far. On Monday evening, group members came covered in bandages and crutches as part of a street play on the bridge to highlight the danger of walking on it.

Charni Road residents protest at the station premises to highlight its pathetic state and the problems plaguing commuters
Charni Road residents protest at the station premises to highlight its pathetic state and the problems plaguing commuters

Until recently, the station used to have a skywalk running parallel to platform four, offering easy connectivity. But ever since the BMC has taken charge of replacing it, the skywalk is being demolished in parts, inconveniencing commuters further. The station is used by several students from the nearby Byramjee and Wilson colleges, and many of them complain that entering and exiting the station during peak hours is a task in itself.

Also read: Mumbai: Dadar railway station fails in safety audit

Urgent upgrade
Wilson college student Raj Chelamnani, said, "The railways plans to increase 15-car services here, and for that, the station will need more entry-exit points, as the number of passengers will rise further. The WR should start planning for it now itself."

"The south end of the bridge that lands on platforms 2 and 3 is very narrow. It should be replaced with a wider and better one. The booking office on that bridge also is in a bad shape and needs an upgrade," said Jay Fadia, another regular commuter.

He added that the south-end bridge does not connect to platform one at all due to government buildings in the west.

"Why can't we extend the foot overbridge over the rail tracks of line one and land it on platform one? It will curb trespassing and give easy access to commuters from the east," he said.

With every other station getting escalators and lifts, Charni Road is in an urgent need for an upgrade, said Mehta. The station is also known to get very crowded during festivals with the GRP deploying maximum force here to control crowds.


View Photos: Mumbai: Gruesome photos of the Elphinstone station stampede

Elphinstone stampede

Problem areas
>> Unnecessary blockages at north end of platform one
>> Platforms 2 and 3 in dangerous condition with access only at extreme ends
>> BMC skywalk running parallel to platform 4 in a bad state and being demolished, limiting access further
>> Narrow staircase at south end of the station leading to crowding during peak hours

Voices of woe

Gaurav Sagwekar, a regular commuter
'Why is the pedestrian bridge being ignored? It is in a dangerous condition. Don't officials in charge of it get their salaries? And the partial demolition of the skywalk is leading to more problems. I hope the new skywalk is in place soon. Also, unlike the earlier one, which was uncovered, we request authorities to build the new with a roof, so that it will be helpful in all seasons'

Shilpa Nayak, a member of Aamhi Girgaumkar
'Access to the station is very limited and it becomes more of a problem when one has to reach platform one from the east. The only bridge at Churchgate-end that connects the station and the road needs an upgrade immediately; it's a safety issue as well, for women at night. We, residents, had taken up the issue of the bridge on September 21, much before the stampede'

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