Mumbai: Vikhroli locals rejoice as station encroachers are moved away

Aug 02, 2018, 07:08 IST | Rajendra B. Aklekar

Locals' efforts of fighting a lengthy court battle bear fruit as illegal structures along Vikhroli railway station are demolished

Mumbai: Vikhroli locals rejoice as station encroachers are moved away
The demolition drive outside Vikhroli station has been ongoing for a couple of days. Pic/Sameer Markande

Vikhroli residents and activists are a happy bunch. They've won a long-drawn fight to seek the demolition of a supermarket and other illegal establishments along Vikhroli railway station, to decongest the area outside the station and get improved access to it. The demolition drive has been ongoing for the past few days.

Lengthy court battle
The drive comes after a lengthy court battle the locals were actively involved in. They'd filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court in April 2011, mentioning how they were forced to risk their lives by crossing the railway tracks, as the foot overbridge (FOB) built by the railways was too narrow, because the encroachments did not leave authorities with adequate land to make the FOB wide enough.

Railway officials said that demolition of the structures outside the station was not just important for access, but also for the ongoing work of the road overbridge (ROB), being built to improve east-west connectivity.

'Huge victory'
Robert D' Souza, vice-president of the Bombay Catholic Sabha said, "This is a huge victory for the development of Vikhroli. The railways should now put in boundary walls, so that hawkers don't take over the place."

The decision was also welcomed by commuter associations. "Commuters will get improved access to the station. The road outside the station is very narrow and it would have been very difficult had things continued the same way. This is indeed a positive development," said Madhu Kotian, member of Mumbai Pravasi Sangh.

Right the wrongs
Some locals feel the newly freed-up space could be used for righting some wrongs. "The landing of the CSMT-end FOB should have been on the road instead of being on platform number one. But due to the encroachment of the shopping complex, that could not be done. Now that the encroachments have been demolished, the foot overbridge landing can be shifted outside the station to create space on the platform," said a local. D'Souza said the space could be used for a bus stop for mini BEST buses that ply to nearby spots.

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