Sunday, May 27, 2007
Many Mumbaiites living in the far suburbs are bearing the brunt of 'Mega Block' on the Western Railway Lines. For those who don't know, by 'Mega Block' means the total stopping of train seva between Borivali and Virar and partial stoppage between Goregaon and Borivali between night of 25th May to morning of 28th May.
This is on account of the quadrupling work (four tracks, including to the existing two) between Borivali and Virar. Though this belt is the most congested in the world, at present there are only two railway tracks (up and down) in this belt. Mumbai Railways on the Western Lines is divided into two parts - Churchgate to Borivali and Borivali to Virar. The latter includes a part of Mumbai- Dahisar (Mumbai Municipal Corpn) and Mira-Bhayander (separate and unique Municipal Coprn, though place is part of Thane Dist) and extends beyond to Virar (Thane Municipal Corpn). At present, there are 4 tracks between Churchgate and Borivali belt and only two beyond. Hence the local trains plying beyond Borivali (Virar trains) have to share their tracks with outstation trains too. This results in lesser trains and large gaps between two consecutive trains resulting into overcrowding and congestion.
People in this belt face a big commuting problem. Men even travel atop the trains and even precariously hang out, risking their lives nearly everyday. Many women also travel on one foot or half heels inside the train and half heels outside ! Accidents are common along this belt. People living in these areas have been crying for better train facilities since many years. Their dreams will hopefully be a reality soon! The quadrupling project which began in 1990s was always halted or delayed due to number of reasons like - hutments in the way of the proposed tracks and many other ones!
With population in the Borivali to Virar region rising (reason being rising real estate rates in main Mumbai and people moving for cheaper and bigger flats beyond), the commuting problem worsened. After many strong agitations and signature campaigns and public letters to Laloo, the last one year has finally seen some headway in the Quadrupling project! After that Mumbai has seen a few 'mega blocks' but mostly during the weekends. Still the deadline of December 2006 could not be met. After that the court extended the deadline to 30th June, 2007. After that work speedened up and we've been seeing daily changes at Mira Road station. Its mainly Dahisar, Mira Road and Bhayander where the work had stuck up!
The Ongoing Mega Block which started at 11 pm on 25th May, 2007 and will end at 6 am on 28th May (Mumbaikars start travelling much before 6 am and travel much beyond 11 pm!) is supposed to be the last Mega Block before the completion of the Quadrupling project.
Many Mumbaikars living in far suburbs have taken leave from their offices to avoid inconvenience of travelling. Though BEST bus services are supposed to increase to take the additional burden, a bus cannot accomodate as much as a train does including those travelling atop it! Mumbai travels in trains and when trains halt, Mumbai comes to a halt !
Pic courtesy : silkboard.wordpress.com