The central announcement system – frequently the only guiding light at the city’s boisterous railway stations – often proves to be a boon for commuters, especially during the monsoon, when the heavy downpour causes chaos.
Central Railway (CR) is planning to introduce a 24-hour announcement system at 21 stations in August. Sources in CR said the project would soon be outsourced to private contractors. The venture should come as a boon for the nearly 37 lakh passengers who travel by Central Railway every day and are often left wondering about directions and other brass tacks at several stations, with the ongoing monsoon adding to the confusion.
According to the proposal, two stations on the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)-Kalyan section, four on the Kalyan-Karjat stretch, six on the Kalyan-Kasara route, four between Dockyard Road and Panvel, and five stations on the Thane-Vashi Trans-Harbour section have been selected for installation of the system. CR authorities will be issuing this tender for a period of one year at a cost of Rs 54 lakh.
“Two persons will be doing 12-hour shifts each at these stations, making the announcements,” said a senior CR official on condition of anonymity. To be precise, the announcements will cease at midnight when railway authorities stall train operations for nearly three hours. “Quite often there are no announcements during heavy rains at these stations and when we ask them the authorities claim they don’t have funds. This problem should have been sorted out a long time ago,” said Subhash Gupta, member, National Railway Users’ Consultative Committee.
CR authorities claim they are also training their own staff who will be placed at some other stations to impart the service.
Voice of reason
Stations where there will be 24-hour announcement systems:
>> CST-Kalyan: Kopar and Thakurli
>> Kalyan-Karjat: Vagani, Neral, Bhivpuri and Shelu
>> Kalyan-Kasara: Titwala, Khadavli,Vasind, Asangaon, Atgaon and Khardi
>> Dockyard Road-Panvel: Seawood Dharave, Mansarovar, Kharghar and Khandeshwar,
>> Thane-Vashi: Airoli, Rabale Ghansoli, Kopar Khairane and Turbhe