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No expertise in railway panel

There is lack of experienced people related to railway matter in the committee which will prove to be a major hindrance in its functioning says railway activists.

local-trainsRailway activists are not impressed with the Railway board’s decision to form a committee to look into the passengers deaths in suburban trains. According to them there is lack of experienced people related to railway matter in the committee which will prove to be a major hindrance in its functioning. Activists also questioned the inclusion of four MP’s in the committee and said that how will legislators be able to understand the inconvenience faced by commuters when they have not travelled in overcrowded suburban trains. They were in favour of including more railway activists, NGO’s and representatives of commuters who are well aware about the issues faced by passengers travelling to distant suburbs.

The committee was formed on December 1 after the death of a 21-year-old man. On November 28, Bhavesh Nakhate, a Dombivili resident, died after falling from an overcrowded train in neighbouring Thane district.

A CR official said the committee comprises nine members, including four MPs – Kirit Somaiya, Rajan Vichare, Poonam Mahajan and Arvind Sawant.

Other members of the committee are S K Sood, (General Manager of Central Railway), Ketan Goradia (Commuters Association), L R Nagwani (NGO), Ajoy Mehta, (BMC Commissioner) and E Ravindran (Kalyan Dombivili Municipal Commissioner). It would submit its report (on passenger deaths) by December 31, he said.

Zonal Railway Users Consultative Committee (ZRUCC) member Subhash Gupta said officers who formed the committee forgot that suburban railway does not operate only upto Mumbai-Thane and Kalyan.

“But it (the railways) also reaches upto Karjat, Kasara and Khopoli and representatives of these destinations have been summarily ignored,” he alleged.

Ritesh Singh, a Kalva resident said, “Every day I have to board overcrowded local trains for commuting to Dadar. Sometimes I have to travel on the footboard due to lack of space in the coach. I am always worried about my safety while travelling.”

Rajesh Deshmukh, a Dombivali resident said, “Many people are losing their lives while travelling in suburban trains. The railways always release the list of number of persons who have died while commuting but it doesn’t take any steps to avert these incidents.”

Sarvesh Seth, a Thane resident said, “The committee formed by railways will submit its report but it will gather dust as railways won’t take any step to implement it. The act of appointing committees after railway accident is just an eyewash to fool commuters.”

A Railway activist and member of DRUCC of Western Railway, Rajiv Singal said, “The way members have been inducted into the committee, I don’t see that its recommendations would fetch some impact.”

“A whopping 25,722 passengers fell from suburban trains (travelling on Western, Central and Harbour suburban services in Mumbai Commissionerate) in last 10 years, of whom 6,989 commuters died while 18,733 survived,” said RTI activist Anis Khan quoting a reply received from Government Railway Police (GRP), Mumbai.

The Bombay High Court had rapped the railways for its lackadaisical approach towards safety of passengers and failure to provide better services in suburban local trains.

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