Mumbai: Western Railway can't get even its drive out on time
Railway safety awareness programme delayed by face of anti-stunt drive and GRP deputy commissioner for an hour-and-a-half
Alam Khan flanked by Deepak Devraj, DCP, GRP (WR), and other police officials caution commuters against performing stunts in trains, at Churchgate station yesterday. Pic/Poonam Bathija
That Mumbai’s lifeline — the massive suburban railway network — is notorious for the tardiness of its train services is a no-brainer. But, you’d think the authorities would at least go by the clock when organising an awareness programme. The Western Railway’s (WR) railway safety awareness programme, scheduled to begin at Churchgate station at 11 am yesterday, was held up till 12.30 pm by the face of its anti-stunt drive – 17-year-old Alam Khan – and Deepak Devraj, DCP of Government Railway Police (WR).
Khan, whose foolhardy stunt in a Churchgate local on October 30 shot him to infamy, kept over 20 railway police and WR officials as well as commuters waiting for over an hour and moseyed in at 12.15 pm with his mother. Devraj turned up around 15 minutes later.
Poster boy’s cautionary warning
When Khan finally took to the podium, he was the picture of contrition. “I want to say I am sorry. I have made a mistake,” the teenager spoke into a microphone. “I request everyone — especially the so-called brave boys — to stop. I was saved somehow, but maybe you won’t be.” The DCP added, “Prevention is better than cure, which is why we are having programmes to make commuters aware of the risks and dangers of pulling off such stunts,” he said.
When Simran takes a fatal run
Even as the audience skulked around waiting for the show to begin, nine students of nearby Siddharth College of Arts, Science and Commerce staged a skit, parodying the carelessness of commuters. One of the scenes was an enactment of the climax scene of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, where the protagonist, Simran, runs behind a train, picking up speed, after babuji tells her to ‘jee le apni zindagi’. This climax, albeit, was different: Simran slips on the footboard of the train — not even managing to catch Raj’s hand — and dies on the spot. Another scene showed a girl walking on tracks with earphones plugged in, and getting hit by a train. Later, Devraj told mid-day that WR officials had approached Siddhartha College to perform at the anti-stunt awareness programme.
The boy who lived
On the afternoon of October 30, Alam Khan boarded a Churchgate local with some friends to make his way to Fashion Street. He began swinging off the door handle between Charni Road and Marine Lines even as a warning through the public address system goes off in the background, against performing the exact stunt. After being hit smack in the face by a pole, he fell down. Khan had a miraculous escape — everybody thought he was a goner — and sustained only a hairline fracture to the skull. His foolish stunt was filmed, which went viral.
Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from Mid-day.comSubscribe
Is the Western Railway prepared to tackle Mumbai monsoon?