MUMBAI: Already under fire for the chaos on the port line, Central Railway (CR) is now trying its best to divert the ire of commuters traveling to and from Ghatkopar. On Saturday, CR blamed the metro authorities for the dense crowd at the foot overbridge (FOB) at Ghatkopar railway station, which connects the railway station and the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro-1.
Earlier this week there were also complaints from travelers about overcrowding at the FOB. At Ghatkopar station, the situation seems to have worsened as during peak hours, snaking queues are seen stretching to the CR premises. The stairs leading to platform 1 and the exit of the train station are completely blocked by these queues. People have taken to social media and asked CR authorities to do something immediately to control the crowds at Ghatkopar station.
CR authorities, however, refuse to acknowledge their responsibility. “The public thinks that overcrowding is due to CR, which is not a fact,” said Shivraj Manaspure, PRO chief, Central Railway. “The problem in Ghatkopar is due to Metro-1 authorities.”
CR authorities also took to social media to support their point. ‘The previous problem was due to a problem in the operation of the Metro that day (October 3). The operation of the subway was affected during the morning rush hours. Therefore, Metro has closed its main entrance from the railway station side at Ghatkoper Station Railway FOB. We informed Metro and tried to resolve those issues with Metro’s help,’ CR’s tweet stated.
Railway passenger associations said that instead of addressing the issue with some concrete measures, CR was looking for ways to exonerate itself from its responsibility at Ghatkopar. “There is a stampede-like situation during peak hours when people stand in serpentine queues to enter the metro station,” said Kailash Verma, president of the Mumbai Railway Users Cell. “Due to this, local train commuters have a tough time as easy access is blocked.”
While a stampede-like situation often occurs at Ghatkopar FOB, Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) authorities are coming up with data on how to achieve the highest daily footfall ever recorded – 4.80 lakh. This number is even higher than pre-Covid times when the peak footfall was around 4.65 lakh.
“We have plans to move from four-car rakes to six-car rakes, but that is at a very nascent stage,” MMOPL sources said. People have been demanding an increase in the capacity of metro trains for some time now, but according to sources, non-availability of funds is one of the main reasons for the delay in the procurement of new carriages.
Meanwhile, MMRDA is awaiting submission of a report by a committee set up by the state government in April to study the takeover proposal floated by Reliance Infrastructure Ltd to sell its stake in Mumbai Metro One (Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar). MMRDA has a 26 per cent stake in special purpose vehicle Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL), while RInfra holds 74 per cent.