Think of raising Railway Tracks height in Mumbai city: High Court to Railways

Why must all decisions be taken in Delhi: asks Bombay High Court to Railways

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday told the Railways to consider increasing the height of tracks in the city to prevent flooding due to rain.

A Division Bench of Justices Naresh Patil and Girish Kulkarni was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by the Indian Centre for Human Rights and Law. The PIL seeks directions from the court to implement the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. The PIL says the revised Guidelines and Space Standards for Barrier-Free Built Environment for Persons with Disabilities and Elderly Persons be followed.

The court also suggested constituting an empowered committee to provide fire and hospital facilities in times of disaster.

To make railway stations disabled friendly, the HC suggested enlisting the help of private companies.

The Bombay High Court also rapped the Railways on Tuesday for it’s callous approach towards Mumbai, urging that a special committee be set up only for the city’s suburban division to check on issues related to crowd management, foot-over-bridges and so on.

“Why should every decision be taken in Delhi? Decentralise the power,” said the division bench comprising Justices Naresh Patil and Girish Kulkarni. “Mumbai locals should be managed by special local body. A disaster management team of railways should be in place for Mumbai too.”

The bench has directed senior railway officials to consider its suggestions, and reply in two weeks.

The bench also recommended privatising management of suburban train platforms to ensure better services as both Central and Western Railways are unable to do so.

“Does the Railways not know the areas prone to waterlogging? Yet for years, it has done nothing to lift the tracks. Ever year, Mumbai faces the same problem,” the division bench said, while referring to reports of tracks being submerged under water at many suburban stations and train services halting.

The bench suggested that the Railways privatise upkeep of platforms, tracks and foot-over-bridges to avoid calamities and maintain hygiene at stations. “Look at the airports,” the bench said, “They have become so clean after privatisation. In foreign countries, railway stations are also privatised.”

The court felt the need for this move because of overcrowding at stations. “It is common knowledge that railways is not doing anything,” the bench said.

The suggestions were given during the hearing of a Public Interest Litigation filed by India Centre for Human Rights and Law (ICHRL). The plea highlighted the lack of facilities for and issues faced by disabled persons in accessing railway stations, and boarding and alighting suburban trains, and made appropriate recommendations, which the Railway authorities were directed to implement.