Mumbai: Go clean shit on tracks before you protest, Central Railway boss tells commuters

Updated: Dec 12, 2016, 12:25 IST | Shashank Rao |

Central Railway (CR) bossman asks passenger committees to help their staff in cleaning tracks when they meet him to discuss the recent rail roko at Titwala and punctuality issues

DRM Ravinder Goyal (extreme right) softened his stand when the passenger associations were furious, and added that they wanted their cooperation in the ‘Swachh Bharat’ drive
DRM Ravinder Goyal (extreme right) softened his stand when the passenger associations were furious, and added that they wanted their cooperation in the ‘Swachh Bharat’ drive

The Central Railway (CR) is troubled by frequent protests and rail rokos by passengers, who are troubled by the constant delays and cancellations. To discuss this, for the first time, CR and passenger associations met at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) on December 10. But passengers were furious as they were asked to help clean the tracks of faeces and garbage, instead.

DRM goes off track
Sources said that during the meeting, Divisional Railway Manager Ravinder Goyal, who heads the Mumbai division for CR, said, “The passenger committees should help our people in cleaning the tracks which are covered in faeces and garbage. Our workers are forced to clean them as well as do their work.”

Also Read: Thane: Decision of halting fast trains at Diva led to Titwala trouble

This infuriated the passenger associations, who got back saying they were there to talk about the problems faced by lakhs of daily commuters on the Thane-Karjat/Kasara line. The commuter associations wanted to meet the DRM to discuss the recent rail roko at Titwala, apart from the ones earlier this year.

‘Clean faeces and garbage!’
“The DRM asked us to help their men clean garbage and faeces from tracks, which are dumped by vendors and hutment dwellers. So we got angry,” said Lata Argade, Vice President, Upnagriya Railway Pravasi Mahasangh.

This is when sources said that Goyal softened his stand, and added that they wanted the passenger association’s cooperation in the Swachh Bharat drive. The officials claim that punctuality suffers, especially due to garbage around the tracks.

‘Our job is running trains’
“The CR officials are saying that running trains is their job and not cleaning. They should ask local corporators and civic bodies to take action. We are rail activists who are bringing forth problems of commuters,” said Nandkumar Deshmukh, president, Thane Railway Pravasi Sangh.

“We are telling people not to throw garbage on tracks,” said Vishwanath Datrak, president, Federation of Rail Passengers’ Association.

The CR wants passengers’ associations to also talk to the local civic bodies and state government to close Level Crossing gates, especially for three hours in the morning and evening peak hours at Titwala, Kalwa and Diva, so that they can improve punctuality. At present trains run late by at least 10 minutes due to these LC gates, which are opened any where from 12 to 36 times.

Read Story: Badlapur Agitation: Irked by train delays? Cause more delays

If these LC gates are shut then more train services can be added to improve the commute of the 42 lakh daily passengers.

Official speak
Ravinder Goyal, DRM Mumbai said, “We requested associations’ cooperation in preventing trespassing, educating the public about not using the tracks to throw garbage and muck, helping us educate the public not to break the walls made for their safety, and reducing the traffic on gates etc, as all these lead to delay in trains. These issues can also make our job more difficult in maintenance matters, and have a negative effect on punctuality. I think anyone who represents commuters has a duty to look at these and other matters.”

42 Lakh
The number of commuters daily on CR

3 hrs
The time the CR wants the Level Crossing gates to be closed for, twice a day

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