Action Stations: Mankhurd Mayhem
Commuters have a litany of woes about this Harbour line halt
It is the last station in Mumbai on the Harbour Line, but the problems faced by commuters here are severe. Srushti Sakre who commutes from Mankhurd railway station says, “Cleanliness is the biggest issue.
One foot overbridge makes it ‘difficult’ for commuters at Mankhurd. Pics/Sameer Markande
The station is always dirty. Dustbins are missing at most places. The ones that are there are overflowing. There is a stench that is in the air on all four platforms of the station.”
Commuters prefer to cross the tracks rather than ‘waste’ time using the foot overbridge. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
Lack of hygiene
Agreeing with her, Mahendra Singh another commuter says, “There is litter strewn all over Mankhurd station. Spitting and littering has made the platforms red and black. Sometimes, dustbins are so full of thrash that putting anything else into them is impossible.”
Mankhurd station is in need of a major revamp
Engineer Swati Sakre claims the ladies washroom at the station is always locked. She says, “The condition of the toilet whenever it is opened is really bad. There is no water and it is difficult to dispose sanitary napkins, too as there are no dustbins. I avoid using it as it always stinks. The one time I attempted to use it, it put me off.”
People crossing the tracks cause trains to brake which makes the ride into Mankhurd station, a jerky one
Call centre employee Vishal Adkar, another commuter says, “On platform 2 there is a new toilet that has been made, but it has been more than six months and it is not yet opened. What is the use of making a new toilet if it is only going to be kept locked?”
Closed ticket counters
“Booking tickets at Mankhurd station is a huge inconvenience,” says Srushti Sakre. The doctor who is interning at a Solapur hospital adds, “Most of the time the ticket counters are closed.
Srushti Sakre, medical intern and Vishal Adkar, Call centre employee
When I come home now that I do not have a pass I have to book tickets. The coupon and smart card machines mostly don’t work, so having coupons or a smart card at Mankhurd is useless. Sometimes, I end up going from North to South just to get a ticket to Kurla which is very troublesome.”
Swati sakre, Engineer and Mahendra Singh, Business-man
Agreeing with her, Swati Sakre, her cousin says, “In the afternoons, the ticket counters are all closed except one which has a long line. The lunch break timings are flouted and this makes travelling a huge problem from Mankhurd. First the frequency of trains is bad, then there is the crowd, the ticket problem makes matters worse.”
The station lights are dim and this poses more problems for commuters. Singh says, “The platform at some places is very uneven and in the dim lighting walking is very tough. I have often missed a step and fallen. The lighting outside the station on both the North and South sides is bad. Getting a rickshaw or a bus is also a problem.”
Adkar says, “Many robberies and crimes happen on the station because of the bad lighting. Thieves take advantage and snatch jewellery or purses. I was once attacked by a gang of thieves who tried to snatch my gold chain. Fortunately, I was able to save it and run away. The station doesn’t even have the Railway Police, so I was unable to register a complaint.”
Tamanna Tarik, a businesswoman who lives at Mankhurd adds, “Due to the bad lighting I feel unsafe coming home late. The station has dubious characters and getting transport to go home is troublesome. The rickshaws from the station refuse to ply by meter and turn down nearby fares. This is a big problem when I have to work late.”
If getting a seat in the local trains is difficult, the benches at Mankhurd station pose similar problems. Payal Rathod, a banker who works at Mankhurd says, “There are only three benches on platform 2-3 at Mankhurd.
Those are perennially crowded. If you are tired after standing in the bus to the station, there is no relief as you have to stand for 30-35 minutes waiting for the train.”
“The fans above the benches never work. So if you manage to get a seat, you do not get good ventilation. I have complained on a number of occasions to the station master, but to no avail,” says Abdul Rehman Siddiqui, a teacher who works at Mankhurd.
“The best solution is to renovate the station. There is a need for better toilets, ticket counters and seating space at Mankhurd. Also, we need more awareness and fines to be imposed on those who spit and litter, that will ensure that the station is clean,” suggests Swati Sakre.
There are some positives, too. The station has sufficient food stalls and the medical room is operational. The bridge though that connects the four platforms of the station is overcrowded during peak hours and the steps are broken in a number of places.
Though there are some bright spots on the horizon, Mankhurd needs a makeover. This is part of our ongoing series on railway stations seen through the eyes of commuters.