Rail­way blocks cre­ate hur­dles for Gan­pati dar­shan, Mount Mary fest

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES CITY -

Mumbai: The first week­end of Ganeshot­sav saw vast crowds and con­se­quent traf­fic jams along cen­tral Mumbai and the sub­urbs. A few spells of rain added to com­muter woes. Those trav­el­ling by train for Ganesh dar­shan, es­pe­cially to the Lal­baugcha Raja pan­dal or the Mount Mary fes­ti­val in Ban­dra faced a har­row­ing time.

Rail­way pas­sen­gers were ma­jorly in­con­ve­nienced due to megablocks on all three lines —Cen­tral Rail­way’s Main and Har­bour, and Western Rail­way.

The rail blocks re­sulted in crowds on plat­forms, trains not avail­able at some of the sta­tions in the Up di­rec­tion (to­wards CSMT) and packed coaches. Though some pas­sen­gers com­plained that the megablocks ex­tended be­yond the dead­line, CR chief spokesper­son Sunil Udasi said the work was com­pleted on time.

CR had an­nounced cur­tail­ment of its block by an hour and said it will carry out main­te­nance work on Mu­lund-Matunga Up slow line from 11.10am till 3.10pm and on the Pan­vel-Vashi Up and Down Har­bour lines from 11.30am till 3.30pm. But few com­muters com­plained that they were in­con­ve­nienced till 4pm. Sources said that a train was stranded at Kurla due to sig­nal prob­lem (point fail­ure) at 3pm.

On WR, the block was car­ried out from 11am to 3pm on Up slow line and Down fast line be­tween Borivli and Bhayan­der sta­tions, and those head­ing to­wards Ban­dra from Borivli faced in­con­ve­nience, sources said. A few trains were also can­celled dur­ing the block pe­riod, said an of­fi­cial, adding that cit­i­zens were given in­for­ma­tion about the megablocks aday in ad­vance.

Sun­day saw long queues of Gan­pati devo­tees at Lal­baugcha Raja in Chinch­pokli and Khet­wadi’s mul­ti­ple lanes, each with its own idol, as well as out­side man­daps in the sub­urbs in­clud­ing And­heri, Borivli, Ghatkopar and Mu­lund.

Balasa­heb Kam­ble, pres­i­dent of the Lal­baugcha Raja man­dal, said, “It is im­pos­si­ble to say how many peo­ple ar­rived. But we have two queues —one for cha­ran sparsh, that is to touch the feet of the idol, and the other for mukh dar­shan or just to get a glimpse. The wait­ing time was up to six hours in both queues, so clearly there was a heavy turnout. It rained a lit­tle in the morn­ing, but it was just enough to in­crease visi­tors’ en­thu­si­asm and not dampen it.”

San­tosh Narkar of Khet­wadicha Raja said devo­tees ar­rived through Satur­day night. “The man­dal mem­bers have not had time to eat a proper meal given the rush. Our pan­dal had to re­main open through Satur­day night. We closed from 6am to 8.30am Sun­day, but since morn­ing, we have not had any free time.”

At Ban­dra, devo­tees com­plained of in­dis­ci­pline by au­torick­shaw drivers, some of whom were over­charg­ing to ferry pas­sen­gers for Mount Mary fes­ti­val. “The BEST did a great job by ar­rang­ing spe­cial bus ser­vices from out­side the sta­tion. It was well or­ga­nized and the bus in­spec­tors en­sured that the red buses left on time and com­muters boarded in a queue,” said a Va­sai res­i­dent, who had come for the fes­ti­val.

The BEST op­er­ated around 100 ser­vices on Sun­day to cater to the rush for the Ban­dra fest.

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