Mumbai: Does Ghatkopar railway station pass the safety audit?

Oct 10, 2017, 08:45 IST | Rajendra B. Aklekar

Being the common point for Metro and suburban railway services, crowd at Ghatkopar local station has been burgeoning, but the infrastructure is not even close to catching up. In short, another impending disaster?

Ghatkopar is one of the fastest rising stars on the Central Railway, courtesy Mumbai Metro. A common station for the Metro and suburban railway, it's witnessed a large jump in the number of passengers due to that connectivity.

Commuters call Ghatkopar the new Dadar huge crowds, skeletal infrastructure. Pic/Sameer Markande
Commuters call Ghatkopar the new Dadar huge crowds, skeletal infrastructure. Pic/Sameer Markande

And yet, the station hasn't got any additional infrastructure for the rising numbers, with the only boon being the seamless linking of Ghatkopar Metro and suburban station through a 12-metre wide bridge. But even here, Metro commuters end up queuing on the bridge, hampering suburban commuters' movement.

The locked toilet on the station premises
The locked toilet on the station premises

And like so many of its brethren, the station is cluttered, leaving barely any space to walk - too many utilities, too less space for commuters. And to make matters worse, the new booking office is being set up on platform one, reducing standing area further and adding to the mess.

Also read: Mumbai: Dadar railway station fails in safety audit

The narrow entry at the south end of the station
The narrow entry at the south end of the station

Dispersal danger
"The narrow entry to the station from the booking office at the south end of platform one is dangerous. It gets very crowded during peak hours. The place where the huge dustbins have been placed could be opened up as an additional entry-exit point, which will help to disperse the crowd better," Rajesh Gala, a resident of Ghatkopar West.

Also read: Foot over bridges at Mumbai railway stations are a disaster waiting to happen

Another resident, Sarita Warrier, said there were problems on the east side as well. "The railways have installed a lift here, but there's no attendant. What if it gets stuck? There is no one to monitor it, and at such a crowded station, where everyone is in a hurry, no one would even come to know if someone was trapped inside it," she added.

Also read: MMRDA to reimburse railways for its land near Ghatkopar metro station

"A solution would be to interconnect all of the station's foot overbridges, so that there is seamless connectivity between them; this will also help in dispersing the Metro commuters properly, without them having to get down on the suburban platforms. Many people, even if they aren't travelling by local trains, get down on the platform to exit, and adds to the number," said Chandan Mehta, another commuter.

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Voices of woe

Nikhil Karunakaran, Metro and local commuter
Ghatkopar is the new Dadar... The number of commuters here makes it very congested. Many don't travel to Dadar or Andheri anymore; they head to Ghatkopar to change over to the Metro or vice versa. This sudden influx makes it a sitting duck for a tragedy, if either of the system crashes. Ghatkopar needs more shuttle services, starting from Vidyavihar or from Kurla station towards Kalyan and beyond. Also, there is an urgent need to connect all three FOBs to the Metro Concourse and have an elevated concourse, similar to Andheri or Borivli; lastly, all fast trains must halt at Ghatkopar'.

Harshad Joshi, a commuter
'Metro has ballooned the crowd at Ghatkopar suburban station. During peak hours, the number of Metro commuters makes it an impossible situation. Crowd control should be the top priority here. The RPF should join hands with the Metro security teams and get the flow of commuters streamlined, so that there are no issues and the crowd is more orderly'.

Problem areas
>> A narrow platform one
>> New booking office coming up on platform 1, taking up standing space
>> Metro crowd queuing up on bridge, hampering suburban commuters' movement
>> No link between the north-end bridge with the 12-metre one

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