Mumbai: CR starts track clean-up between CSMT and Sandhurst road to keep drug addicts at bay
Central Railway authorities clear vegetation and temporary structures along the tracks between CSMT and Sandhurst Road station, leaving drug peddlers with no place to hide
After 10 locals were injured in a clash between Byculla residents and Nigerian drug peddlers on June 7, the GRP had requested the CR authorities to clean up the area so that the problem could be solved. In a survey conducted by the GRP, they had found out that the peddlers were using trees and temporary structures to smoke-up and conduct drug-related activities.
Through a number of reports, mid-day has highlighted the activities taking place on the tracks and how the peddlers attacked police teams in the past. When this reporter visited the stretch on Wednesday, he found it to be clean and even a green cloth has been put up along the side of the hutments in order to ensure the area is not misused and it looked tidy. Also the bushes near Masjid station have been cleared and all the waste kept in sacks to be discarded later.
Tracks between the CSMT and Sandhurst station have been cleaned. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Even a particular area near the station has barricaded. Speaking to mid-day, Sunil Udasi, chief public relations officer, CR, said, "This initiative has been taken up to give a clean look to the tracks. Even the garbage that originates from the slums can now be identified and disposed off properly. Utility and connection wires have also been covered. This is being done on a trial basis. If successful, then it will be replicated at other vulnerable spots."
According to sources, maintaining vigil on the 4-5-kilometre stretch was a difficult job, as the area involves multiple jurisdictions, which include that of GRP, MRA Mary, Azad Maidan, Byculla, Dongri, JJ Marg and Agripada police stations. Whenever cops have tried to bust the illegal activities, the peddlers have attacked and injured them.
A section between CSMT and Masjid station has already been cleaned up. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
In July this year, Assistant Police Inspector Amar Marathe, suffered a head injury after some drug peddlers pelted stones at him during an Anti-Narcotics Cell raid at the tracks. The ANC had then launched Operation AM and arrested eight peddlers.
Earlier in 2016, eight policemen were injured during Crime Branch's Operation Sabak. When the peddlers started pelting stones at the cops, they were forced to fire three rounds in the air to scare them away.
A green cloth has been put up along the shanties to make the area look cleaner
Working on other recommendations
The GRP had put forward three recommendations in the letter sent to CR on June 20 – cleaning the tracks and cutting bushes, installing flood lights and blocking the multiple entry and exit points of the tracks. When asked whether the authorities were looking into the other aspects as well, a railway official said, "We have already started cleaning the area. Even floodlights are being put up. The Sandhurst Road station yard already has a couple of them." However, the official said he was unaware of the entry and exit point recommendation.
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