Gap at Ghatkopar can't be fixed: Central Railway

Jan 15, 2014, 11:33 IST | Shashank Rao

Officials say the two-metre gap, in which a 16-yr-old girl fell and lost her forearms, cannot be filled because of operational issues; former MP Kirit Somaiya turned up with his entourage to protest at the spot

Approximately two-metre gap on platform number two at Ghatkopar station, which left a 16-year-old girl without limbs, cannot be filled by the railway authorities.

Ex MP Kirit Somaiya inspecting the gap on platform 2 at Ghatkopar station
Ex MP Kirit Somaiya inspecting the gap on platform 2 at Ghatkopar station

The Central Railway (CR) officials claim that if the gap were filled, there would be operational repercussions, which would delay hundreds of trains every day. Yet, ex-Member of Parliament (MP) Kirit Somaiya, from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), went all the way to this railway station and posed for shutterbugs while he was measuring the gap yesterday.

According to senior officials from CR, the gap is on the southern end of platform 2 at Ghatkopar station, although it has been further extended for accommodating 15-car trains in near future. The gap indicates the end of the platform. Soon after, there is a signal meant for the motormen of trains going towards Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST). There is also a foot over bridge (FOB) next to it, for commuters.

Platform 2 is meant only for 12-car trains, but right next to it is platform 3, which can cater to 15-car trains and more. “If we fill this gap, then we will have to shift the signal pole further towards platform 3, which would make it difficult for motormen to see,” said a senior CR official. The signal cannot be put up right in front of the extended portion and the gap be filled, as it would prove the Kalyan-end FOB to be futile.

This is because trains would go right up to the extended portion, and passengers would have to walk ahead to board trains, rendering the rear FOB useless. “Also there is a crossover (that allows trains to go from one track to another) soon after the station towards the CST end, which we cannot change,” said another official.

If any changes are made in the platform, signal, crossover or position of the train, the daily train services will be severely affected. Sources said that the speeds of trains would drastically reduce, which might delay services every day. Officials claim that all these facts were clearly explained to Kirit Somaiya, who still went forward with his protest, causing inconvenience to thousands at the station during peak hours. Several of his party followers were seen holding placards.

“An illegal signal and a surrounding gap of 9 square feet on platform 2 are responsible for Monika More’s fall. It’s shocking that the railway officials are running away from their responsibilities,” said Kirit Somaiya. However, Mukesh Nigam, divisional railway manager, CR told MiD DAY, “We will take necessary measures to see that such accidents do not happen.”

The incident
On January 11, a 16-year-old girl lost both her forearms after coming under a train at Ghatkopar railway station. She was trying to catch a train when it started and she started running along with the moving train. As she couldn’t hold on to the pole inside, she fell between the gap cited in this report and slid towards the rail tracks. The train went over both her forearms, which got severed on the spot. Two youngsters then took her in an auto rickshaw to Rajawadi Hospital. More is currently in KEM Hospital.

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