De­mand for women’s lo­cal grows louder

WANT SEC­OND TRAIN Fac­ing crush­ing rush hour crowds on Cen­tral line, women com­muters write to rail­way min­is­ter

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - Faisal Tan­del faisal.tan­del@hin­dus­tan­

THANE: Women trav­el­ing in lo­cal trains on the Cen­tral line re­cently pre­sented the rail­way min­is­ter and se­nior of­fi­cers of the Rail­ways, de­mand­ing that a new women’s spe­cial train be run from Bad­la­pur. The women com­muters, who travel to Mum­bai, Thane, and Navi Mum­bai, said in­creas­ing rush hour crowds at the Bad­la­pur sta­tion made an ad­di­tional women’s spe­cial train nec­es­sary.

The women had de­manded that Rail­ways run an 8:30am slow lo­cal from Bad­la­pur to CST.

Viji Jayachandran, 43, a res­i­dent of Kalyan who is a chief ac­coun­tant with a pri­vate firm in And­heri, and trav­els from Kalyan to And­heri in the lo­cal trains, had started the sig­na­ture cam­paign three months ago.

“Even those women who have to reach their of­fice at 11am leave their homes to board the 8:02am slow women’s spe­cial, as they claim they get place to breathe on the train. They reach their of­fices an hour early, just to be safe. An­other train at 8: 30am will re­sult in re­lief for nu­mer­ous pas­sen­gers trav­el­ing to Mum­bai. The first class com­part­ment is full with tick­et­less trav­el­ers, and the au­thor­i­ties should send a ticket checker there dur­ing peak hours, so tick­et­less travel is curbed,” added Jayachandran.

At present, Cen­tral Rail­way runs an 8:02am slow women’s spe­cial train from Kalyan to CST. Women com­muters have or­gan- ised them­selves, and taken the sig­na­tures of 8,303 women com­muters. Th­ese they have sent with the let­ter de­mand­ing a new women’s spe­cial lo­cal from Bad­la­pur, which was handed over to the rail­way min­is­ter Su­nil Prabhu.

Rashida Sadri­wala, 35, a se­nior ac­coun­tant with a Mum­bai-based firm, and a res­i­dent of Mum­bra, told HT she is plan­ning to shift to Mum­bai rather than brave the crowds in her daily com­mute. “We have de­cided to shift to Mum­bai from Mum­bra. We can’t af­ford a new home, and its as­so­ci­ated li­a­bil­i­ties, but we can’t risk our lives on the dan­ger­ously-packed trains of Mum­bai ei­ther. We de­cided to be safe for our kids. We don’t want to die fall­ing off a packed com­muter train,” said Sadri­wala.

Jayachandran said, “Dur­ing the peak hours each train is packed full. Chick­ens in a poul­try farm are han­dled with more care than the way Rail­ways han­dle their Mum­bai pas­sen­gers. Even the cargo that goes aboard the goods wag­ons is well-han­dled. We in Mum­bai have lost the value of com­fort­able travel. We are used to abuse and tor­ture on the lo­cal train here.”

A woman in her early thir­ties, who is a res­i­dent of Bad­la­pur, said that many women have left their jobs rather than suf­fer the com­mute in the crowded trains. “Once or twice in a month, rail­way acci- dent vic­tims are kept in­side the women’s com­part­ment. Once, an accident vic­tim was kept in the com­part­ment, be­cause an am­bu­lance wasn’t avail­able. Also, a preg­nant woman had to lie on a stretcher that is used to trans­port dead bod­ies, which seems un­com­fort­able. Lack of fa­cil­i­ties is also a prob­lem,” she added.

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