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HC tells committee to inspect Railway platforms to prevent mishaps

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Bombay-HCThe Bombay High Court on Thursday asked an expert committee to examine the height of gaps between footboards of local trains and railway platforms and recommend suitable measures to prevent mishaps.

The Committee was asked to file its report by March 13 and the railway officers were directed to examine the report and come out with an action plan by March 20.

A bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M S Sanklecha also directed the expert committee to inspect each and every platform on the Central and Western Railway routes and decide how much space should be left between the platforms and the footboards of trains so that mishaps could be avoided.

The committee, which has been given this task, is the same one appointed earlier by the High Court to look into the problems of handicapped persons who commute by local trains.

The bench had taken up the issue after a 16-year-old college girl, Monica More, lost her arms after falling into a gap between the platform at suburban Ghatkopar railway station while trying to board a local train last month.

The tragic incident brought to the fore the risk lakhs of commuters take daily to board crowded suburban local trains, transport “lifelines” of Mumbai.

Western Railway today informed the court that it had increased the height of suburban platforms at nine railway stations including Grant Road and Dadar.

The Court has directed the expert committee to inspect these nine platforms also along with others.

The court reprimanded the railways for keeping wide gaps between the platforms and footboards of trains thereby putting the lives of commuters at great risk.

The court observed “you (railways) are not ready to listen to others. Your stand has been that whatever you say is right and others are wrong.”

Counsel for railways Suresh Kumar gave technical reasons for not increasing the height of platforms.

The railways said in an affidavit that the gap between the footboards of local trains and platforms is not the sole cause behind commuters losing their life or limbs in mishaps but there were several other factors involved like crossing of tracks, trespassing and over-crowding.

In Mumbai, there is no separate rail corridor for local suburban trains and long-distance trains. Since the width of the long-distance trains is greater than local trains, the platforms have to be constructed keeping this in mind.

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