Mumbai: Union minister Suresh Prabhu takes a train down memory lane

Railway minister Suresh Prabhu spoke about developments in Mumbai's suburban stations as he travelled on the route he used to take as a college student

A day after spontaneously taking a train to CST, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu decided to take a local into nostalgia. The minister travelled in the local between Khar and Vile Parle, the same route he used to take years ago during his college days. This time though, instead of interacting with commuters inside the coach, he stood rather close to the footboard and was seen staring out of the train most of the time.

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Despite the chaos and constant chatter, Prabhu was leaning out of the coach and waving to people standing on the other platforms
Despite the chaos and constant chatter, Prabhu was leaning out of the coach and waving to people standing on the other platforms

He boarded the first class compartment of a Borivli-bound train around 10.35 am and went straight to the other side of the door. MP Poonam Mahajan accompanied him. Despite the chaos and constant chatter, Prabhu was leaning out of the coach and waving to people standing on the other platforms.

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Prabhu boarded the train with MP Poonam Mahajan (left). Pics/Nimesh Dave
Prabhu boarded the train with MP Poonam Mahajan (left). Pics/Nimesh Dave

Improving Khar station
“Khar is not among the top grade stations on Indian Railways, but I have been a resident of the suburb all my life. It was once the queen of suburbs but it no longer stands that way. And so, I am trying hard to bring in improvements,” said Prabhu. The Indian Railways classifies its stations in grades of A+, A, B and C, and Khar falls in the last category.

Prabhu was also a part of the Khar Resident Association, that dealt with local civic issues and he remembered how he began his political career and interactions with the public from then. He said after he laid the foundation for a new foot overbridge (FOB) and inaugurated a new water filter machine that dispenses drinking water in glasses for Rs 2-R5. The machine also allows people to refill water at Rs 1.

Prabhu said people keep complaining about overcharging vendors who sell bottled water at Rs 20 despite its MRP being R15. The Western Railway will be setting up 50 such machines, costing Rs 4.5 lakh each, across the Churchgate-Dahanu Road suburban section.

During his travel, one could hear him speak to Mahajan about his dog, back in Delhi, who is currently under the weather. In fact, he also mentioned how his wife dressed the dog a few days ago. By then, he had arrived at Vile Parle station and was rushed for the inauguration of a new FOB. “I remember coming to Vile Parle during my college days. Over the years, the population has gone up, especially in the suburbs and so, we are planning to redevelop stations extensively,” he added.

He also elaborated on his meeting with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, wherein they discussed new elevated projects from Virar-Bandra and Bandra-Churchgate on the Western line and CST-Panvel on the Central line. He said that encroachments on tracks, too, would be taken care of and removed with help of the state government.

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