Travelling in the monsoon can be a trying experience at the best of times, and especially so when you’re standing at the railway platform under a leaking roof that offers little to no protection from the rain. Such is the plight of commuters at Pune railway station, where the roof over platform 1 is constantly dripping with water even after the railway division spent R10 lakh on repairs.
Eating into the walls: Leaking rainwater has damaged the walls and the ceiling at eateries at the station, forcing them to shut down operations on the first floor. Pic/ Dattatraya Adhalge
The Pune division began preparing for the monsoon well in advance, ordering repairs of a 700-metre stretch overlying platform 1. With the incessant downpour in the city, and the repair work as yet incomplete, commuters struggle to find a dry spot where they can wait for their train.
“It is a nightmare to travel during monsoon as the entire platform is wet and the few spots that are dry are packed with people. If this was not enough, now the roof has started leaking, adding to the misery of the passengers,” said a commuter, Nilesh Shinde.
Last year, the division had already spent R5 lakh on roof repairs. Not only did the administration have to spend double the amount this year to do the same job again, the situation is only getting worse. The escalator connecting to the foot over bridge has not been operational for over a month due to the rains. Even eateries at the station have been affected, with the entire first floor out of commission because of the leakage.
“During monsoon, the stairs are more slippery. I find it tough to climb up the stairs, and the escalator was a blessing for people like me, but is now closed due to the rain. When will railway passengers get the facilities that we pay for?” asked Rupesh Sawant, a disgruntled senior citizen.
A source told mid-day, “Railways administration is giving the repair contracts to just anyone, because of which passengers have to face a tough time. The continuous leakage has led to seepage and the paint and plaster are peeling off, which only means that the administration will have to spend money again for further repairs.”
Harsha Shah, president of Railway Pravasi Group said, “The Pune station building is a heritage structure and the administration is just misusing public funds under the pretext of developing the platforms. The engineering department should be questioned about the issue and strict action should be taken against those concerned.”
While leaking rainwater is causing havoc at the platforms at Pune station, at the office of the Government Railway Police (GRP), it’s a leakage of another kind altogether that’s the problem. Water is leaking from the restrooms on the first floor, seeping into the ceiling and walls below.
The other side
Yogendra Kumar Singh, PRO, Pune railway division said, “The work of waterproofing the approximately 700-metre roof at platform number 1 started earlier this year, and was supposed to be over before the start of the monsoon. However it is still in progress, due to which there have been complaints of leakage from the roof.” He added that the administration would look into what had gone wrong with the repairs carried out last year, necessitating expenditure again this year.