Fear­ing slab col­lapse, rail­ways bars en­try to Nerul’s plat­form 6

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - Pranab Jy­oti Bhuyan pranab.bhuyan@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The United Kharghar Ac­tion Com­mit­tee’s call for a bandh in protest against the state govern­ment’s de­ci­sion to in­clude Kharghar in the Pan­vel Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion (PMC) re­ceived a mixed re­sponse. The daily life of res­i­dents re­mained un­af­fected.

In ar­eas such as sec­tor 3, 4 and 7, shops downed shut­ters in the morn­ing but re­opened by af­ter­noon.

The bandh was sup­ported by the Peas­ants and Work­ers Party (PWP), Congress, Na­tion­al­ist Congress Party (NCP) and Ma­ha­rash­tra Navnir­man Sena (MNS). Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena work­ers did not par­tic­i­pate.

PWP and MNS of­fi­cials said BJP work­ers asked the shop­keep­ers to re­open their shops.

The Shiv Sena has a dif­fer­ent view on the is­sue. “We are not op­posed to the in­clu­sion of Khar­gar in the PMC. How­ever, our de­mand is that the cor­po­ra­tion be named Kharghar Pan­vel Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion,” said Gu­runath Patil, sha­har pra­mukh of the party.

“Most shops were shut in the morn­ing. How­ever, from 11am on­wards, shops started open­ing,” said Prab­hakar Gharat, pres­i­dent of Ashtv­inayak Vya­pari as­so­ci­a­tion of sec­tor 3 and 4.

“Cidco had ad­ver­tised Kharghar as a part of Navi Mum­bai and so we bought flats here. We do not want to be a part of the un­der­de­vel­oped Pan­vel area,” he added.

“There is a lot of de­vel­op­ment to be car­ried out in Kharghar and Cidco has stated so on record. Our in­clu­sion in Pan­vel will lead to the sidelin­ing of de­vel­op­men­tal work,” he said.

While the Cen­tral Rail­way has de­cided to in­au­gu­rate the Rs400-crore NerulBe­la­pur-Uran-Sea­woods rail­way project by 2017, the Nerul rail­way sta­tion ap­pears to be a stum­bling block to the am­bi­tious project.

The slab above plat­form 6 has been di­lap­i­dated for sev­eral months and may col­lapse. The City and In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (Cidco), which is re­spon­si­ble for main­tain­ing the rail­way sta­tions in Navi Mum­bai, has put iron bars on the plat­form to sup­port it and to en­sure that the slab does not col­lapse.

An­tic­i­pat­ing ac­ci­dents and loss of life, rail­way au­thor­i­ties have banned en­try to the plat­form. How­ever no con­crete steps have been taken to solve the is­sue per­ma­nently.

Cur­rently, the trains of the har­bour and trans-har­bour lines are us­ing the other plat­forms of the sta­tion, ex­cept plat­form 5 and 6. These two will be op­er­a­tional once the Nerul-Belapur-Uranand Sea­woods rail­way project has started. Com­muters are bound to face prob­lems if the is­sue is not re­solved be­fore that.

“We no­ticed the dam­aged slab a few months ago. Con­sid­er­ing the safety of the com­muters we in­formed Cidco. Its of­fi­cials vis­ited the sta­tion within a few days and after con­duct­ing an au­dit, they found that the slab is danger­ous,” said an of­fi­cial from Nerul sta­tion who did not wish to be iden­ti­fied.

“Cidco of­fi­cials told us they will take time to find a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion as they might have to de­mol­ish the en­tire slab and re­con­struct it,” he added.

The Nerul-Belapur-Uranand Sea­woods rail­way project en­vis­ages nine new rail­way sta­tions. The first phase will have five sta­tions and the next phase will have four.

“The au­thor­i­ties can spend hun­dreds of crores of ru­pees to de­velop new rail­way sta­tions. But they are un­able to main­tain the ex­ist­ing sta­tions used by the res­i­dents. They will have to spend just a few lakh ru­pees to re­pair the slab but they are turn­ing a blind eye to the is­sue and putting com­muters at risk,” said Ma­hesh Salve, 35, a Nerul res­i­dent.

“Even the roofs of the sta­tion’s two foot over bridges have been dam­aged and the plaster has started giv­ing in. The au­thor­i­ties have put a net un­der the roofs to pre­vent ac­ci­dents. Need­less to say, such roofs can­not pro­tect us from the rain,” said Mal­lika Das, 36, another res­i­dent.

“We have sent a pro­posal of re­pair­ing the slab and the work will be started soon. If need be we will re­con­struct the slab to make it safe for the com­muters,” said Ranjan Gaokar, deputy en­gi­neer of Cidco (rail­ways).

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