PAC member Irfan Ahmed and BJP leader Ashish Shelar inspect a platform at Bandra railway station. Pics/Sneha Kharabe
PAC member Irfan Ahmed and BJP leader Ashish Shelar inspect a platform at Bandra railway station. Pics/Sneha Kharabe

With just one-and-a-half month left for completion of platform levelling work at three stations on the Western Railway network, the Passenger Amenities Committee (PAC) has demanded an inquiry into the quality of cement used for the work. After the PAC members and senior railway officials visited some of the stations on the Western line on July 13, they said that contractors were using inferior quality material to increase the height of platforms.

Platform levelling work at Bandra railway station is yet to be completed
Platform levelling work at Bandra railway station is yet to be completed

The height of platforms has always been a matter of concern for the railways, as people have either died or been injured after falling in the gap between the train and platform. According to the plan, the railways are increasing the height from 760mm-840mm to 900mm-920mm. This is being done across all Mumbai suburban stations.

Complaints received
Irfan Ahmed, PAC member, said, "Within 15 days, we want a lab test to prove the worthiness of the materials. We have received complaints that the contractors are using inferior quality materials to increase the height of platforms."

On July 13, the PAC members and other senior railway officials inspected the Bandra local station and the Bandra terminus. The following day they visited the Jogeshwari and Malad stations. On July 15, the team inspected the Sandhurst Road, Byculla and Chinchpokli stations.

"It seems the material used by the rail contractor is bogus. Moreover, there is no mention of the contractor's name and contact number at the station," said BJP leader Ashish Shelar, who visited Bandra station.

Too late now
Western Railway sources said that it was foolish to demand a lab test for the materials when the platform work is on the verge of completion.

At present, platform levelling work remains only at three stations - Bandra, Khar and Kandivli - which would be done by August 31.

Further, work at the stations between Dahisar and Virar will also be completed by December.

Illegal parking
Central Railway officials said that while inspecting the Byculla railway station, the team found that vehicles were parked illegally on the eastern side. Then they asked the traffic police to clear the area. The team also inspected passenger amenities like toilet blocks and ticket counters. They even asked the CR authorities to improve the fencing at the station.