Mumbai: Central Railway, you have 29 days to fix Ghatkopar station
After this paper's ground report on the alarming crush at Ghatkopar station, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal scrambles top officials
Two weeks after mid-day highlighted the unmanageable crush at Ghatkopar station, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has scrambled his top officials and given them 30 days to fix the issue. Goyal, who was in the city to inaugurate a slew of projects, spoke of the congestion problem after local MP Manoj Kotak highlighted mid-day's front page report, 'Next Disaster Arriving on Platform No. 1', dated August 30.
Speaking from the stage at a public function at CSMT, Goyal directed railway officials to study the congestion issue at Ghatkopar and submit an action plan on station improvement at his New Delhi office within 30 days. He also directed Central Railways Divisional Railway Manager, his team of heads of department, and the local MP Manoj Kotak to visit the station after the function.
"How long will it take to submit the report? 20 days or more?" Goyal asked his officials from the stage, to which they replied that they would require 30 days.
Later, Kotak told mid-day that there will be some relief for commuters within three days, and a long-term plan will be formulated in a month. "I had taken up the issue after mid-day had highlighted it and promise that commuters at Ghatkopar will get immediate relief in three days and long-term solutions within a month," said Kotak.
MP Kotak at Ghatkopar stn
At the same time, Goyal also directed Western Railway officials to conduct a similar study at Andheri station, which also has Metro connectivity like Ghatkopar and faces similar congestion.
"During our school days, it was Dadar station [which was congested] and now, with Metro links, it is stations like Ghatkopar and Andheri. We will develop them adequately," said Goyal.
After the function, MP Kotak, DRM Sanjay Kumar Jain, RPF Divisional Commissioner KK Ashraf, Senior Commercial Manager Narendra Panwar, and other MRVC officials arrived at Ghatkopar at 12.48pm.
They inspected the station for two hours, walking down the platform, inspecting amenities and then moving to the Metro station above, where they discussed with the station manager on how realignments could be done to ease congestion and increase passenger movement.
mid-day accompanied the team, which first visited Platform No. 1, where Kotak and the officials asked about hawkers almost blocking the access to the station, and discussed ways in which they can be relocated. They also said the platform shed will be extended to cover a larger area.
The next stop was the platform canteen, where they discussed how it could be relocated to make way for better movement of commuters.
After this, Kotak and Jain visited the Metro station, where they inspected crowding patterns and access to Metro platforms. This was followed by a meeting with the Metro station manager, where they discussed how to relocate the suburban Central Railway ticket windows, which result in crowding in the Metro station.
The Metro staff agreed to co-ordinate with the railway officials to streamline crowd management and improve access.
"Officials have committed to me that they will prepare a primary action plan for immediate relief to commuters and implement it within three working days, while the long-term master plan to decongest the station shall be submitted in a month's time," said Kotak.
Mumbai North East MP Manoj Kotak (centre) at Ghatkopar station
When mid-day visited Ghatkopar station on Friday before DRM and MP's inspection, we could already see a few improvements.
The abandoned booking office in the middle of platform one — one of the issues we had highlighted — had been thrown open with new ticket vending machines.
The old dilapidated staircase blocking access was, however, not touched as yet and remained a hindrance. Two shops blocking the entrance were shut for the day.
What's the plan?
"CR has worked out short-term and long-term measures to decongest Ghatkopar on priority," said a senior divisional official. "Queues were found to be zig-zag, and need to be streamlined. The Metro station's entry barriers on the Ghatkopar side can be pushed behind to expand the circulating area for better passenger movement. There is scope for food stalls in the Metro station area to be shifted to another deck. There is also the possibility of moving out some structures like the booking counters, etc, on the left side of the staircase to make way for easy movement of passengers. As a long-term measure, there is a plan of making elevated decks to be used as foot-bridge connectivity and double up as circulating areas."
'I made a mistake'
Goyal clarified he made a mistake on September 12, owing to a slip of the tongue, and mentioned Albert Einstein instead of Isaac Newton, referring to his statement that "maths never helped Einstein discover gravity."
This time, correctly quoting Einstein, he said, "'A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.' I am not among those who are afraid of making a mistake."
He added innovation was necessary for the future and failures were a step towards success. "I think mistakes are made by anybody and will only lead to something better in the future," he said.
No. of hours officials spent at Ghatkopar station, inspecting it
Passengers per day at Ghatkopar train station
Catch up on all the latest Mumbai news, crime news, current affairs, and also a complete guide on Mumbai from food to things to do and events across the city here. Also download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps to get latest updates
Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from Mid-day.comSubscribe
Brave officer saves life of an elderly man at Mumbai Central station