As the city finally gets some long-awaited respite from the summer in the form of monsoons, railway passengers are now looking for a new form of respite – sheds to keep them dry at platforms across the city. However, the railway authorities are yet to provide the same at some platforms, despite repeated complaints from passengers and requests from passenger associations.
Spread out on both Central and Western Railway lines, stations that require sheds include Bandra, Santacruz, Jogeshwari, Mahalaxmi, Thane, Nahur and Masjid.
Speaking about the issue, Madhu Kotian, president, Mumbai Rail Pravasi Sangh, said, “Passengers have been facing problems due to the unavailability of the sheds at platforms. The sheds are not there at Thane station on platform 5 and 7, where on an average, there is one mail train every 10 minutes. How will a family with kids and luggage manage to catch trains on such platforms?” According to him, passengers often face difficulty when they have to board trains from areas on the platforms that are unprotected from the rain. Also sometimes, there are delays. “The railways are not bothered about passenger amenities. Why don’t they put sheds so that passengers can easily stand and wait for the trains?” adds Kotian.
Every day, thousands of passengers have to contend with the rain due to non-availability of sheds. Jyoti Kumar, a Jogeshwari resident who catches a slow train from Jogeshwari station everyday said, “I am tired, as I catch a first class coach and the shed is not available from that particular place.” Kumar, who lately started boarding the second class coach despite having a first class pass, added, “It was a horrible experience in summer, and now I have to be ready with a raincoat and umbrella in monsoon.”
Passengers associations have been writing and demanding the installation of sheds for years, but railway authorities from both the railways have not responded. Kailash Verma, Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee member, WR, said, “I have been writing letters for Jogeshwari station for the last three years but nothing has been done till date. I have written a letter to the DRM and also to the Engineering department.” Passengers everyday lodge complaints with the station master, passenger association members and with the senior railway officials.
Subhash Gupta, a member of National Railway Users Consultative Committee, said, “Railway authorities have said that they have no funds to put sheds on these stations. It is sad that railways don’t care about basic amenities. Instead of conducting inaugurations with some big politicians, the railways should first take care of such basic amenities.”
Every day lakhs of passengers have to face this problem. However, both spokespersons, Sharat Chandrayan from WR and AK Singh CR claimed that most of the work of constructing sheds has been completed, and they are in the process of completing the sheds at the remaining railway stations.