A shocking number of Mumbaiites are taking the easy way out, and it is officially on paper, too.
According to a recent report submitted by the high-level safety review committee of the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC), led by Dr Anil Kakodkar, 5.22 lakh Mumbaikars enter railway stations by walking across railway tracks, often making their way through dilapidated compound walls. All this just to save a few minutes to catch a local train.
The report also stated that of the 15,000 people who die on tracks every year, around 6,000 hail from Mumbai. The study added that most people crossing railways tracks and entering railway stations through unauthorised entry/exit points come from far suburbs.
More than 1.43 lakh people enter the railway premises using these entry points on Western Railway (WR). Commuters from Goregaon, Bhayander, Vasai and Virar made it to the top of this dubious list. “We are constructing foot overbridges (FOBs) and planning escalators wherever possible, but, at the end of the day, it is the peoples’ mindset that must change and they should use the resources,” said a WR official.
Similarly, on the Central Railway, 1.38 lakh people on the Main line and 2.41 lakh on the Harbour line were observed not using FOBs and designated gateways to enter the railway platforms for boarding local trains. The study states that the situation at Byculla, Dadar, Kurla, Thane, Kalyan, Khopoli, Karjat, Kasara, Chembur, Govandi, Nerul, GTB Nagar and Panvel is the worst.
The study also emphasises that the fencing and cement walls on the CST-Panvel Harbour line, which ferries nearly 12 lakh people every day, is deteriorating steadily. “The tracks on the Harbour line are surrounded by slums and their residents often break the walls down. However, we are in the process of constructing stronger cement walls,” said a CR official.
“The railways should set up a team to study the locations where people use unauthorised entries. They should ask the locals the reason for this behaviour and amenities should be provided accordingly,” said Subhash Gupta, railway commuter activist. Surprisingly there are a few railway stations where no commuter is guilty of using unauthorised entry into the railway premises. Some of these stations are CST, Masjid, Ghatkopar, Bhandup, Mulund, Dombivli, Wadala, Churchgate, Dadar (W), Bandra, Andheri, Borivli and Mira Road.