Travelling in a Mumbai local is a sight of its own! However, living in a metro city like Mumbai feels incomplete if you are not familiar with commuting on the local trains. It is a life-changing experience to travel in the Western Railway especially in the route of Virar and Borivali — it teaches you to slither your body towards a spot which will not cause you to move a bit from the train even in the case of any random push! Have you ever heard of boarding a Mumbai local at a leisurely pace be it any time of the day? Moreover, the trains observe a huge amount of crowd with fully-packed compartments, especially during the peak hours.
Nidhi Saraf, a CS professional, who travels daily from Mira Road to Churchgate shares her struggle to board the train with people forming groups and prohibiting others from entering the compartments.
“As I have started travelling by train since a few years regularly during the peak hours, I have observed that these things are commonly being practiced. A person goes through a mental pressure and gets exhausted while commuting every day due to such filthy activities. Meanwhile, the frustration gets piled up more as the Railway authorities give a deaf ear to the commuters’ problems,” she complained.
With every single day, one comes across various types of passengers; the co-travellers are usually friendly and ready to help but not always. During the journey of Virar and Borivali especially in the morning and evening, which observes the maximum rush, passengers face a major of the door blocking as they are not allowed to climb up or down at the middle station and various groups in the coaches block the way through the door. Many cases of assault have already been reported to the railway authorities. Railway Protection Force (RPF), in order to put an end to the pillar group in the local door on the Western Railway line, has now commenced with a drive against the door blocking passengers.
When AV spoke to RPF Senior Divisional Security Commissioner Anup Kumar Shukla, he asserted, “These incidents are occurring between Borivali and Virar section of the suburban railway. We have formed a team to launch a crackdown against miscreants blocking the door of trains. Until now this year, we have caught 1,500 people. This initiative will continue in future too.”
RPF troopers board the train dressed in the civilian form during the morning peak hours at Virar and during evening peak hours at Borivali. If someone jumped into the compartment or blocked the door, the first team would come down and capture the photo of the miscreants and forward it to the next station officials via WhatsApp. Later, the team will reach the place and take action against the concerned traveller.
Shruti Mogre, a student from DG Ruparel, Matunga Road, expressed her anguish stating that the commuters lack basic sense and patience while boarding the train. She continued saying, “The passengers also need to understand that everyone will be able to get down at their respective stations. The railway authorities or government can do nothing about it till the commuters themselves realise it. The idea to share a picture on WhatsApp is a good initiative but not practical. According to me, there must be a proper railway check at each station for any nuisance created, just like they have in other countries as well.”
For the route of Borivali-Virar, the ‘Door Blocking Drive’ is being run on behalf of RPF, for which teams like ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’ have been set up. The Western Railway currently operates 1,355 rounds per day, whereas, 36 lakh passengers travel daily. A further increase of 10 more rounds is planned to run from November 13 making the count 1,365. The help of Maharashtra Security Force personnel has been taken for this drive. In the past few days, over 30 passengers have been subjected under Section 156 of the Railway Act.
Shiv Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande commented, “This initiative is quite appreciable. There are some anti-social elements who try to dominate and trouble other passengers and block the door. They not only try to put their own life into danger but also risk the lives of other passengers. Such type of service should also be extended to nab the eve teasers.”
“Eve teasing is very common while complaints are not addressed properly and sometimes women are made to run from pillar to post. There should be a system where a complaint can be registered in any police station like Station Master’s office or RPF office irrespective of the location where the incident had occurred. RPF needs to build the confidence of women travellers,” she added further.
Earlier, there were several initiatives by the Railways and the government to have an ease in commuting for the travellers such as installing cameras in the ladies coach to ensure women’s safety, police personnel in the handicapped coaches, and many more seem to be failing with an increase in the casualties happening on daily basis. In order to make this door blocking drive a success, Akshi Kapadia, a daily commuter to Bandra recommended steps to create awareness amongst the offenders. “This door blocking is going on since ages. A majority of the commuters are involved in this kind of activities, how many people are the RPF going to control? I don’t think that it is going to stop unless they create awareness about the stringent actions against door blocking every now and then. They can make announcements and put posters in the train and platforms regarding the same rather than putting up advertisements posters,” she suggested.