In this article, I am referring about the inefficiency of the Indian Railways. The journey they say is more important, more than the destination but if you have to wait for ever then god help us. The distance between Borivali and Kandivali is approximately 3 km which can be covered within 5 minutes. The midnight mega blocks the railways keep referring for upgrading the rakes or preparing for monsoon obviously does not happen as per scheduled time. So people like us who work on Sundays have to suffer as railways continue with the unfinished work throughout the next day. It took me 17 minutes to reach Kandivali due to the mega block as frustration was showing on commuters faces.
When seven minutes passed, some passengers were just staring in space blankly enduring in silence while the slow sound of sighs and ramblings began filling the din in the compartment. These incidents happen on a regular basis and same story is repeated the next week too. During the weekdays we travel like a herd of cows and buffaloes being pushed not by a cowherd but by other hands that keep shoving at you to move forward, sideways and backwards. When you reach your workplace or whichever your destination is, you realize one earring is missing (especially the clip-ons) and a bracelet is no more on your wrist. Often in the crowd you see and someone squealing that her mobile has been stolen.
I recall posting on Facebook something similar to validate the same that was quoted by Shashi Tharoor. He had raised this subject about the common man travelling like cattle in trains. Since Tharoor was new to Indian Politics he was not getting a favourable response from the incumbent BJP government. Other opposition parties which called it hearsay because he had lived in America said ‘how would he know that’. So at the outset let me emphasise that all parties have been aware of this pathetic situation. Now the present government say it’s high on their agenda to reform the Indian railways. Japan and China will assist us in the construction of new bullet trains and Metro railways which our children will see in the near future. The Mumbai Metro which was scheduled to start its operations in 2010 was inaugurated in 2014 on account of bureaucratic obstacles and red tapisim. Thus by the same barometer new trains might be operational by 2020-23. Hopefully we will heave a sigh of relief and some will live to tell this tale just like some very old septuagenarians did when it finally started.
Commuters travelling frequently on this route were happy as there has been a decline in vehicular traffic on roads. Office goers were reaching home on time as they had dinner with their family members too. A new hindrance followed few months later. There was disagreement between Reliance Metro and MMRDA as the former was in favour of a fare hike. They got their way. Some commutes started travelling in BEST buses as traffic jams started reoccurring. The bottlenecks were back albeit not to that extent. If the government intervenes to resolve this problem then it will be a boon to the millions travelling daily. Just when are they going to take this seriously and put all those foreign agreements they keep exchanging on paper translate into action. When? Is when for them?
Allka V Aswani