3rd Nov, 2017 2017
THANE: With space on the Thane railway platforms getting crunched due to the construction of foot-over-bridges, activists fear that the commuter safety is at an increasing risk. Commuters claim there is barely any waiting space at island platforms like 3-4 and 5-6 during peak hours, as a notable area is occupied by the bridge pillars and food stalls leaving barely any space for commuters.
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There are seven landings of the four bridges at each of these platforms at Thane along with nearly five food stalls. Along with this, there are nearly 18 benches at various spots. While the infrastructure has been added over the years, there has been no increase in the size of the platforms.
"The station has seen a rise in footfalls from nearly 2.5 lakhs to a massive 6 lakhs in the last few years, but the length of suburban platforms has remained the same since nearly the last 15 years when 12-car trains were introduced," informed a railway official.
The railway administration has constructed a fourth FOB at Thane station recently and work on the fifth is actively going on. However, experts and activists have pointed out how the passenger amenity is fast reducing usable area on the already space crunched platforms at the station. A recent meeting with railway minister and officials had underlined the need for more open spaces at select dense stations to facilitate smooth passenger movement and ensure safety.
The situation is bad at 5-6 platforms that see mail express and suburban trains halting simultaneously. Long distance commuters usually reach the platforms well in advance and end up blocking waiting space for suburban passengers. The situation is aggravated if any train is delayed especially during peak hours.
"The platform is already inadequate plus over the years stalls and bridge pillars have reduced the available space here. Jostling has become so common here and we fear of a tragedy waiting to happen as passengers are often forced to stand very close to the platform edge due to the crowd. It is better to take a prevention than repent later," observed Sunil Kulkarni, a passenger from Badlapur who takes a train from Thane.
Activists suggested introducing a new platform in the huge vacant space between the up slow and the down fast lines at Thane could easily segregate the load off the dense platforms. "There is ample space to construct a platform between platform 4 and 5 that could help reduce the load off the existing ones. We are planning to give a letter to the railway administration highlighting this issue. It is better to be safe than sorry," said a railway activist.
When contacted, Central Railways officials admitted the issue persisted and said they were trying to find solutions. "We are working on a solution to the problem of less space on the platforms especially the ones that commonly cater to the long distance and suburban ones.
We are exploring possibilities to help ease the problem," said an official requesting anonymity.
Source : timesofindia.indiatimes.com