Hundreds of commuters staged a ‘Rail Roko’ protest at Thane’s Badlapur station early morning on Friday to protest against the irregular rail services on the Central Railway. A delayed Karjat-CST train sparked the protest around 6 am. The local was delayed due to a signal failure at Bhivpuri.
Initially, a handful commuters started protesting against the delayed services on the Central line. But soon, hundreds of commuters, who face the same plight everyday, joined the protest and it turned into a full fledged agitation.
The passengers stopped both up and down trains from plying from the station and started shouting slogans against Central Railway. The primary point of contention was CR’s inability to run services on time.
As of 11 am, commuters have brought services to a halt for almost five hours. Owing to the protest, rickshaw drivers outside Badlapur station have started demanding exorbitant rates. One commuter even complained of a driver asking for Rs 200 for a ride from Badlapur to Ambernath.
Following the protest, both up and down services have been stopped. Railway police is on the spot, but isn’t dispersing the crowd at the moment. A CR spokesperson has said that they are working on restoring the services as soon as possible.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu also took note of the situation and requested commuters to end the agitation, assuring a prompt resolution. However, commuters have asked for written guarantee from the railway authorities that the train will not be late henceforth.
Everyday, thousands of commuters from Badlapur travel to Mumbai for work or to attend college despite the tediously long travel time. But the constant delays have further added to their woes.
According to Shardul N, one of the protesters at the station, “For those of us who travel to Mumbai everyday, it takes almost two hours to reach our destination. I catch the 7:52 local to reach by work by 9:45 am everyday. But the trains have been becoming increasingly irregular with the times. In the last 30 days, I’ve been late 7 times for work because the trains were running late.”
“No one came to the station to protest today. Everyone had to go to their work or college. But after the announcement was made that the trains were delayed, some commuters started shouting slogans and took to the tracks. Others joined them because everyone is tired of getting late everyday,” he added.
Meanwhile, 11010 Pune-CST Sinhagad Express and 12124 Pune-CST Deccan Queen have been diverted via Karjat-Panvel-Diva. Mahalaxmi Express has been stranded at Vagani for three hours, without any food or supplies, owing to the agitation.
Central Railway has also allowed Karjat passengers from Kalyan to travel by 11025 Bhusaval-Pune Express.
Central Railway’s Divisional Railway Manager is reportedly en route to Badlapur to talk to protesters in a bid to pacify them and restore the services.
Update (11 am): Crowd has been dispersed and local train services have resumed on the Central line.Back to latest news