Mumbai locals won't stop running in heavy rains, says Western Railway top boss, Anil Kumar Gupta
Will there be disruptions in Mumbai local train services during heavy rain days? Western Railway's top boss Anil Kumar Gupta has the answers
Anil Kumar Gupta was appointed as General Manager of Western Railway on May 9, 2017. Gupta, a 1980 batch officer of the Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers (IRSEE), completed his graduation (B.E) in Electrical Engineering from Motilal Nehru Regional College of Engineering, Allahabad now (MNNIT). Before joining as GM od Western Railway, Gupta served as an additional general manager in the South Central Railway
Gupta started his career in the Indian Railways in 1982 and in over three decades of service, he has held several important assignments in various railway zones including on Eastern Railway, Western Railway, Central Railway, West Central Railway, North Central Railway and also in the Research Designs & Standards Organization (RDSO).
mid-day.com exclusively spoke to AK Gupta at his office at Churchgate in south Mumbai. Excerpts from his interview with Soumil Kamat
Western Railway GM A.K Gupta
What is Western Railway doing to ensure smooth services during Mumbai rains?
Western Railway has put a plan in place to tackle the problems faced by the railways during heavy rains. Based on the inputs we received from last year's monsoon, we identified the problem areas, mainly places that were submerged last year. We have identified few locations such as Mahim, Bandra, Grant Road, Mumbai Central, Dahisar and few others. We have also tried to disperse water that accumulates in low-lying areas.
For example, a drain at Bandra was getting choked frequently. Manholes were created so that during heavy rainfall, water could be removed via pumping. We also met the Commissioner of Municipal Corporation regarding the issue and chalked out a plan to identify basic culverts. Culverts are tunnel structure constructed under roadways or railways to provide cross drainage or to take electrical or other cables from one side to other. We jointly narrowed down 7-8 locations completed work in June.
While doing so, other issues have been identified but that work will be undertaken after the monsoon. Last year, we installed some pumps from Churchgate to Virar and have increased the number for the same. A special drive has been initiated to remove muck from the tracks.
What are WR plans to ensure smooth operations of the local train
We have instructed our operating staff who will be deployed round-the-clock for routine operations. The locals will be functional even if water levels are 40-50-60 mm above from the rail level and the staff has been trained on how to function them in such cases. The contingency plan is in place too, in case of any event. From Churchgate to Virar, if there is water-logging on the tracks, the train may not run at a full speed but will be functional. Train services will not stop unless the water levels are too high, which we don't think will happen.
What measures are being taken to tackle water-logging on tracks during the heavy downpour?
Basically, we have 42 culverts which pass through many sections connecting to rivers of the city. Those drains have been thoroughly cleaned and this year and we have ascertained that there are no obstructions. This kind of exercise will be undertaken every month for all the 42 drains. Secondly, we have also given an extra opening drain so that water goes to Dharavi.
What are the safety measures taken for the platforms or FOBs especially for monsoon?
As far as platforms are concerned, there was an issue regarding the height. According to commuters, the height of the platform is too less and which is why we have raised the height of around 145 platforms. Along with the height, the surface of the platforms is made smooth in order for commuters to comfortably board the trains during monsoon. We have also removed the debris from all the platforms. The debris is only seen where the construction of FOBs is taking place.
What is your message to the regular train commuters
Whenever you are walking on a platform or foot-over-bridges, our request, with folded hands, is please have patience, walk slowly and also advise co-passengers to cooperate.
Mumbai Rains: City to experience heavy showers for next 24-48 hours