Mumbai: Viral video of jam-packed Western Railway local has citizens seething

Updated: 25 September, 2020 08:17 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar | Mumbai

Ask why they were restricted when essential category workers, govt staff were not bothered about social distancing and other safety protocols

A grab from the viral video shows people throwing caution to the wind as they board an already crowded WR train
A grab from the viral video shows people throwing caution to the wind as they board an already crowded WR train

THE video of a jam-packed Western Railway local train that went viral on social media on Thursday, has had commuters and activists raise questions about social distancing and implementation of COVID-19 safety protocols on local trains. Western Railway officials said they were investigating the matter and appealed to people to not crowd trains and maintain social distancing and COVID-19 medical protocols.

Mushtaq Ansari of Team Potholes Warrior, who put up the video on his Twitter account, said he will find details of time and date from the person he got it from. People have been receiving the video on social media and WhatsApp in the name of various stations where it was allegedly shot. Sources said it probably looked a day old from when railway services and public transport had been badly affected due to the heavy rain on Wednesday. They said hence the crowd.

"Local trains should start as normal, as people are travelling by bus where social distance is not maintained, and by private cars which is burning big holes in their pockets," Ansari said.

The video attributed the happenings to various stations
The video attributed the happenings to various stations

"Which essential category workers are struggling like these? And if this is the way government employees behave on public transport, let's open it up for all," a commuter, Anuj Saxena, said. Another commuter, Arijit Noman said, "What difference does it make by not starting full-fledged local train services in Mumbai? Why are citizens being harassed in the name of COVID-19 restrictions?"

'Quite shocking'

Former member of Western Railway Zonal Users' Consultative Committee Shailesh Goyal said that it was quite shocking that such large crowds have been getting into trains without social distancing. "At least the people themselves should try and restrict their movement in these days of crisis," he said.

Western Railway said the video was of September 23, taken at Borivli at 5:22pm of a train that started as an extra Virar 15-car local at 3:45pm from Churchgate. "There was heavy rain resulting in disruption for 7 hours between Churchgate-Andheri leading to cancellations. Of 500 services, a total of only 237 services could be run due to waterlogging as much as 300 mm above rail level. The crowd at Borivli was unusual due to evening rush hour and cancellations. Till yesterday, not a single instance of such crowding had been reported," WR chief public relations officer Sumit Thakur said.

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First Published: 25 September, 2020 04:36 IST

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