Demand for women’s local grows louder
WANT SECOND TRAIN Facing crushing rush hour crowds on Central line, women commuters write to railway minister
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.