A small shop that sells watches and a country liquor bar these two establishments are all that stand in the way of the proposed extension of the CST-Andheri Harbour line to Goregaon. These two structures are right next to the railway crossing at Jogeshwari (West), near platform number 1 of the railway station, and owners of both have refused to give way to the project.
Deluxe Time and New Rishi Desi Bar pose ‘the main problem’ for the extension, according to Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation. Pics/Sameer Markande
The railway line between Andheri and Goregaon on the Harbour line, touted to cost over R103 crore, was supposed to be completed in May last year. However, the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC), the agency helming the project, has missed the deadline because land could not be cleared.
The 10x10 clock shop is close to the crossing and is at the end of the road. An old man sits inside along with other staffers, busy repairing watches and changing batteries, while several clocks on the wall give him company. He also attends to customers, all of whom seemed to be locals.
Deluxe Time and New Rishi (circled), the two establishments that have refused to make way for the Andheri-Goregaon Harbour line
“This shop is over 80 years old. We bought it in 1978 from the earlier owner and have been running it since then,” said Salim Masoor, the owner of Deluxe Time. While a heap of garbage near the tracks is one of its neighbours, on the opposite side of the road is the staircase leading to the new ticket counter and the foot over bridge (FOB).
“Why can’t the railways marginally shift the tracks between platforms 2 and 3, where there is a lot of room? Also when the staircase of the FOB is right in front of our shop, how it is that only our shop is causing a problem to them (railways)?” questioned Masoor, who confirmed that he has gone to the city civil court with the matter.
Two shops away, along the railway line, is a country bar named New Rishi, a portion of which juts out and is in the path of the new alignment of the upcoming line. Adjacent to the bar is a BEST depot, and the BEST had to transfer a patch of land from the depot to the railways, for the project. But the refusal of both the owners to vacate the land poses a problem to the railway authorities.
“These two structures are the main problem. We are in touch with the state government agencies to get them cleared after amicably talking to them,” said Prabhat Ranjan, chief PRO, Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC). In a couple of days, area MP Gajanan Kirtikar too will meet with the railway authorities.
In fact, sources said that on July 15, Western Railway (WR), Central Railway (CR), and MRVC also had a joint meeting to sort out these issues. Once these portions are removed, the alignment for the Harbour line has a clear path. “We will provide whatever help is required to solve this matter,” said Shailendra Kumar, divisional railway manager (Mumbai), Western Railway (WR).
The railway police and local police, too, will be roped in, apart from politicians of the area, to speak to the locals and find an agreeable way out. At present, Harbour line services, which are managed by Central Railway, operate between CST and Andheri and CST and Panvel; some trains also ply between Panvel and Andheri via Wadala.
Once this line is ready, trains on the Harbour line from Panvel or CST will come all the way to Goregaon. In the next phase, the same lines will extend till Borivli.
“I have already given approval for clearing the land for this project. A few people there have gone to court, and, so, there are some issues,” said Shekhar Channe, suburban collector, Mumbai.