Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Thursday reprimanded the railways for not taking any concrete step to reduce crowd in suburban trains, which is causing the death of many people. The court also asked the authorities to consider approaching investors at ‘Make in India’ Week for setting up an elevated rail corridor to decrease the load of passengers on existing suburban trains.
The division bench headed by Justice Naresh H. Patil on Thursday asked the government of Maharashtra to step in and help the railways in augmenting its capacity that would help in providing safe travel for commuters.
While suggesting the state government to help railways the court also asked the railways whether it is unwilling to go in partnership with another authority to augment its capacity. However, the railways said it did not have any such problem.
“Many investors are in the city for the ‘Make in India’ programme. You may approach them,” suggested the bench. The judges asked the railway for how long would it continue to depend on the Railway Board and why it does not consider setting up of an elevated rail corridor.
The bench was of the view that the railways should give priority to Mumbai rail suburban routes because more than 50 lakh commuters travel every day from home to offices and back and also because many get killed falling off from trains due to heavy rush in peak hours.
A railway report, presented to the court, said many people fall down from trains at Kurla, Ghatkopar, Mulund, Thane, Mumbra and Kalyan stations and hence it was proposed to increase frequency of trains in this corridor of central railway.
Regarding reduction of gaps between the footboard of trains and stations to prevent commuters from slipping and falling on the tracks, the railways said steps have been initiated at some stations to increase the height of the platforms.
The court was hearing a suo motu PIL, converted out of a letter written by a senior citizen, A.B. Thakker, seeking reservation of a separate compartment for senior citizens in local trains.