The common man is not bothered to shell out a few bucks for railway journey but expect improved amenities from the railways. For instance, take the example of local train travel conditions of Mumbai, though some facilities are added here and there in order to clear the rush, commuters have to undergo huge hardships while travelling.
Today, even if you travel in the afternoon to Churchgate from Virar or Vasai, you do not get a seat to sit even in first class till such time you reach Bandra or Dadar or beyond – or passengers have to be courteous enough to offer you a seat at Andheri or otherwise. It is really a tough life for passengers putting their lives at risk and travelling everyday to their respective destinations and coming back home. Even the Harbour Line is most crowded as the satellite city is extended beyond Panvel and touching Karjat and other surrounding areas. With an International Airport coming up in Navi Mumbai, we need to have fast mode of travel to make things move achieving our aim of having a second airport.
There needs to be a reduction in the travel time between Virar and Churchgate to half an hour by modifying the tracks or by using whatever modern technicalities that are called for. Modernisation of railway infrastructure is necessary for achieving this objective otherwise the time is not too far, where the already frustrated people, would not hesitate to go on a rampage and damage railway property. Nothing touches the Mumbaikars — literally and figuratively — as much as the sheer crowds that cram into every local train. While the railway budget speech is about announcements and the budget itself about allotment, what the Mumbaikar really wants is some magic wand to reduce the crowding in his train.
We would like to see renaissance in Railway movement within and for trains leaving Mumbai. We do not have a Rajdhani Express between Mumbai and Chennai as the present trains take nearly 24 hours to touch the destination. Mumbaikars had huge expectations from railway budget but no major announcements were made by the Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu for upgrading the city’s railway system which has become saturated.
The magic wand, according to commuters, is new projects like the elevated Churchgate-Virar and CST-Panvel corridors which will start a completely new air-conditioned high speed segment on two of India’s densest suburban routes. Ensuring safety of railway passengers is the need of the hour and we wish to have a theft free travel when we board an Indian Railway train.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)