Mumbai: Railway cutting power costs at your peril?

Feb 14, 2015, 06:58 IST | Saurabh Vaktania

GRP officials say despite 15 commuters being attacked in attempts to steal phones and bags between Bandra and Mahim just this year, only one of 10 bulbs is switched on in the floodlight installed at the spot

Despite the Bandra-Mahim stretch on the Harbour line witnessing repeated attacks on local train commuters by drug addicts and robbers, the railways, it seems, would rather save on its power bill than help the police save the commuters.

The floodlight at khaadi point. Pic/Sameer Markande
The floodlight at khaadi point. Pic/Sameer Markande

According to th GRP, the robbers, who are drug addicts, hide in the almost 10-feet tall bushes on the stretch, called khaadi point by the cops, or climb up poles and attack passengers travelling on footboard to rob their cellphones and bags.

Last year, the Bandra GRP registered around 70 cases, while 15 cases have already been registered so far this year. Incidents of commuters falling off the train and sustaining serious injuries have also been reported. To stave off such incidents, a tall floodlight with ten bulbs was installed near khaadi point a year back. GRP officials claim, however, that only one of the bulbs is usually on.

A GRP official said, “The fencing is not proper. Now, despite the floodlight being installed, why are the bulbs not being switched on at least? We face a lot of problems and risk our lives, but when we had approached railway officials, they had said keeping all the bulbs on is too expensive. Sometimes, a few bulbs are on, but never all of them.”

“The drug addicts, meanwhile, have continued to hide in the bushes or shimmy up poles and hit commuters with sticks to make them drop their phones or bags, endangering their lives,” he added. Last month, several senior officials of the railway, PWD and police met and decided that the floodlight would be kept on, but GRP officials say the nothing has changed. Despite repeated attempts WR officials were unavailable for comment.

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