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    IndiaAshamed to see people travelling like cattle: High Court on Mumbai Local...

    Ashamed to see people travelling like cattle: High Court on Mumbai Local Trains

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    MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday said it was ashamed to see commuters forced to travel like cattle in the local trains, the lifeline of the Mumbai region.

    Hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on rising number of deaths of commuters due to falling from overcrowded trains or in other accidents on the tracks, the high court said this “very very serious” issue must be dealt with.

    A division bench of Chief Justice D K Upadhyaya and Justice Amit Borkar said it will hold the top officials of both the Central and Western Railways accountable as the “situation in Mumbai is pathetic”.

    The PIL was filed by Yatin Jadhav.

    “Very very serious issue has been raised in the PIL and therefore you (railway authorities) have to address it. You can’t say, we can’t do this or can’t do that due to the large number of people (in the city). You carry people like cattle. We feel ashamed at the manner in which commuters are made to commute,” the court said.

    The bench directed the general managers (GM) of the Western and Central Railways to “look into the entire issue” and file affidavits in response.

    The affidavits shall be “personally vetted” by the GMs and “indicate the measures which are available and are in force to check such mishaps,” said the court.

    It would hear the PIL next after eight weeks, the HC said.

    As per the petition, 2,590 commuters lost their lives on the tracks in 2023, which was seven deaths every day. As many as 2,441 persons were injured during the same period.

    While 1,650 people were killed in accidents on the Central Railway route, 940 died on the Western Railway.

    Advocate Suresh Kumar, appearing for the Western Railway, said it was taking measures such as putting up barricades between tracks and construction of two or three foot-over-bridges at every station. The WR has implemented HC directions passed in an earlier PIL on the issue, he added.

    “You should not depend only on orders for saving people’s lives. We agree you have followed those directions. But have you been able to check these deaths? Question is whether it (measures) has yielded results? Have you been able to reduce or stop deaths,” asked the bench.

    Kumar pointed out that the WR was running services at the highest possible frequency, with trains leaving every 2-3 minutes during peak hours.

    The high court said it was not suggesting that the Railways increase the number of trains or their capacity, but a solution has to be found.

    “This time we will make the highest-level officers accountable. The situation in Mumbai is pathetic,” the bench said.

    “You (Railways) can’t feel happy that you have been ferrying 35 lakh people daily. You can’t say considering the number of people in Mumbai you are doing a good job. You can’t even take a refuge saying there are too many people. You have to change your mindset. Your officers need not be satisfied by commuting such a large number of commuters,” it added.

     

    Northlines
    Northlines
    The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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