Usarghar: The invisible 'station'
The Diva-Panvel corridor is one of the several routes that branches out on Mumbai's suburban section
There are seven railway stations on this section where some long-distance passenger and cargo trains halt every day. But there are a couple of unscheduled halts that some trains have to make.
Just after Diva station, as trains go towards Panvel, there are two stations Datavali and Nilje. Sandwiched between these two is a blink-and-you-miss-it halt, which is not on the Central Railway’s suburban map, but a few trains make unscheduled stops here.
Welcome to Agasan/ Usarghar station, buried amid brambles and wild shrubs, and surrounded by villages and industries.
There is a board blocked out of vision by a tangle of bushes and trees, which reads Agasan. But around it, there is no infrastructure -- platforms, ticket-booking counters, roof, fans, light fixtures or any other basic amenity seen at any railway stations are missing. There is just the railway track. For the last 10 years, the CR authorities are making unscheduled halts at this virtually invisible “station”. “Some trains make unscheduled halts here, although there is no such station,” said Atul Rane, chief PRO, Central Railway.
Senior CR officials said villagers in the area have been demanding a railway station and the state government accepted their demand, which is how Agasan came into being.
But, half the villagers wanted the station to be named Usarghar while the rest wanted to call it Agasan. This led to a lot of problems.
“Years ago, there was some violent protests from villagers which led to a stalemate-like situation. Now, until the state government comes up with a solution, we are not considering this as a valid railway station,” said another railway official.
Officials said that now the government has asked the Thane collector to submit a report on this issue. But the collector, P Velrasu, is out of town, informed a voice on the other end of the phone when this reporter contacted his residence. The officer’s cell phone was unreachable.
The railways said that until the government officially gave it the status of station, they could not put it on the map and operate it as a normal station.