Mumbai safety audit: Masjid Bunder, Curry Road are small stations with huge pitfalls
The size of Masjid Bunder and Currey Road stations belies the number of commuters the two have been forced to accommodate. But both have been bursting at the seams, making need for more FOBs and entry-exit points urgent
Masjid Bunder and Currey Road have largely been in the shadows, and they continue to be, but only for the authorities, not the public. Over the years, number of commuters at both stations has risen, but the infrastructure is still of the yesteryears.
The lone entry-exit point at Currey Road station. Pic/Sameer Markande
"Something needs to be done here urgently. Narrow platforms with even narrower staircases are the root cause of everything," said Mukesh Chandra, a regular at the station. He added that if one tried to exit from the south of the station, the person would encounter a larger crowd due to smaller foot overbridges.
A roof-less north end of platforms at Masjid Bunder has led to crowding at the south end. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Things get wild when two trains arrive simultaneously. The north end of the platform has been extended to accommodate 12-car trains, but the extension is yet to get a roof. Hence, commuters avoid it, crowding under the covered section, where a staircase leads to a foot overbridge. This results in more chaos.
Commuters crowd at a narrow staircase at Masjid Bunder station that leads to a narrower foot overbridge
Another regular commuter, Vandana Swami, whose office is right opposite the station, said, "It needs at least one wide bridge, which could connect to the east as well as the west and all other bridges. Also, the entry and exit points are anyway narrow. To have hawkers crowd around them makes the situation worse, more for women commuters. They should be asked to shift."
A change in demography due to offices and business houses shifting to Lower Parel and Central Mumbai and new residential towers coming up has led to a surge in the number of people frequenting this station. And this is just the local train crowd. Imagine the situation when the new Monorail station, coming up outside Currey Road suburban station, is finished and thrown open.
"Currey Road is turning into another Parel-Elphinstone Road. Because commuters have been increasingly finding it difficult to board a crowded Kalyan-bound train at Parel during evening peak hours, many travel backwards to Currey Road to catch the train. This is, obviously, adding to the chaos," said Vijaykumar Solanki, a regular commuter.
The station has an island platform and serious entry-exit issues, with the only one functional at the north end to the road overbridge. The south end doesn't have any access. A new bridge is under construction at the centre of the station, but that will give access only to the east side.
"The CST-end of the station has zero access. If the railways and BMC join hands to build a skywalk that can connect to B A Ambedkar Road in the east, it will be a huge relief for all," said Sharmila Gosavi, whose office is in Currey Road.
>> Narrow foot overbridges
>> Roof-less north ends of platforms
>> Narrow exits on both sides in east and west
>> Illegal hawkers near elevated booking office at the south end
>> Only one entry-exit point at the north end
>> Very narrow passage between bridge and footpath at entry-exit point
>> Booking office queues blocking the only access
>> New bridge coming up giving access only to the east, not west
Voices of woe
Jigar Desai, a businessman who regularly commutes to Ghatkopar
'The big problem at Masjid Bunder, which everyone seems to be overlooking, is that there are a lot of labourers here, carrying heavy loads, as this is a business district. This, coupled with narrow platforms and narrower staircases and entry-exit points, leads to more chaos'
Santosh Modhave, a Currey Road resident
'The most frustrating part is to get in and out of the station. Due to the peculiar location of the access points from the bridge in the south, there is limited space; a stampede can happen anytime here. The BMC and railways should sit together and draw up a proper access point for this station'
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