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Who will address commuter woes?

After the tenure of members of Railway Passenger Association ended three months back, rail passengers are set to suffer, as concerns would not be presented before the rail budget

With the Union Railway budget for 2012-13 only two months away, bad news is in store for suburban rail commuters.


Around 70 lakh people in the city use local trains
for their everyday commute


Railway commuter organisations associations set up with a view to forge closer association with rail users and the Ministry of Railwayshave disbanded, while some are in the process of getting dissolved this month end.

The relevance of these committees is that members were in a position to meet top brass of the railways, including the Union Railway minister, with their demands and concerns on behalf of rail passengers.

The committee is significant for the city as it deals with issues endured by 70-lakh commuters traveling on both Central Railway (CR) and Western Railway (WR). With the committee dissolved before the budget, redressal of grievances of commuters will be severely affected.

While members of these various committees have requested an extension of three years to their tenure, there is a lacuna in the formation process (Members are changed every two years).

Sources from the railways said that it takes nearly one year for them to elect all members, who are appointed from various organisations and professions.

Even Members of Parliament are elected to these committees. By the time all clearances and permissions are granted, the process takes one year and leaves only one year for the members to present their set of problems faced by railway commuters.

On September 15, the tenure of three passenger committees National Rail Users Consultative Committee (NRUCC), Zonal Rail Users Consultative Committee (ZRUCC) and Divisional Rail Users Consultative Committee (DRUCC) was disbanded.

Meanwhile, the Suburban Rail Users Consultative Committee (SRUCC) that is currently functioning has no scope to make any preparations for presenting their set of demands to the railway ministry before the Union Railway budget.

"Our tenure will cease at the end of this month. Hence we haven't prepared our lists of demands to be presented," said Chandrakant Sawant, member of SRUCC.

The role of DRUCC and ZRUCC is to present the problems faced by railway commuters locally and from a particular zone, either Central or Western Railway.

The committee members present the problems faced by commuters to the Divisional Railway Manager (Mumbai) and General Manager from the respective railways CR and WR.

The NRUCC on the other hand would look into the national level railway related problems across the country. "We can approach the railway ministry with our set of demands for the forthcoming railway budget as part of a commuter organisation.
 
However, its weight would have grown multi-fold if represented through the setup of a consultative committee," said Subhash Gupta, member of both DRUCC and NRUCC.

He has now written a letter to the railway ministry asking them to continue the consultative committees until new members are elected. Meanwhile the railway officials claim that they are making sufficient preparations and wish lists for Mumbai, which would be forwarded to the railway ministry.

Wish list for city
12-car trains on
Harbour line
Extension of railway routes beyond Panvel towards Raigad
Newer routes and additional train services
Elevated railway corridors blamed for delays

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