Moneylife Events
Coalition of passenger associations decides to take up the matter

Activists concerned about the state of Mumbai's railway system resolved on Saturday to join forces to press the demand for safe and humane commuting within Mumbai

 

A coalition of activists and organisations working at different aspects of ensuring safe rail travel held their first meeting at Mumbai on Saturday, 5th January.

The meeting identified a few core issues to be actively pursued in 2013 as well as the persons or organisations that would take it up. They are:

 

  • Lack of safety and the large number of deaths due to inhuman overcrowding of suburban trains was a matter of primary concern for all. Samir Zaveri, who has been the biggest crusader for a wide range of railway-related issues, would lead this effort. Ashank Desai, founder of Mastek Computers and Dr Rita Savla have also been working for the past four years on how best to get proper medical facilities for passengers in the golden hour after an accident. Dr Savla said that their organization is also working at training railway porters to be more sensitive to handling accident victims. It will also continue to work for change at the policy level.
     
  • To demand that all proposals pertaining to Mumbai, which were a part of former Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi’s budget must be incorporated in the forthcoming budget. It may be recalled, that Mr Trivedi’s budget proposals were discarded and he was forced to resign after Mamata Banerjee objected to a proposal to raise fares. Now that the Trinamool Congress has withdrawn support to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), there should be no bar to reviving proposals pertaining to Mumbai, whose income subsidies the larger railway network. Mr Rishi Aggarwal of the Observer Research Foundation will lead this effort.
     
  • To press for optimization of the train frequency on the Mumbai suburban rail network to make the best use of improved technology, new rakes and better equipment. Mr Dipak Gandhi, Chairman of the Mumbai Suburban Railway Passengers' Association, who has been crusading the cause of railway activists for decades agreed to lead this effort. Mr Gandhi had railway timetables going back to 1937, which show that trains were run at a better frequency many decades ago without the benefit of modern technology and computerization.
     
  •  Raising the height of platforms to reduce deaths and accidents was another issue that is a priority. Advocate and former national cycling champion Bapoo M Malcolm agreed to lead this effort along with transport activist Sudhir Badami, Samir Zaveri and his associates.  
  •  Gaurang Damani, who has already filed a public interest litigation in this regard, will pursue the safety aspect by pressing for closed boundary walls to prevent trespassing and encroachment around railway stations. An interesting issue that came up during the discussions was that a majority of deaths are passed off as trespassing in order to cover up the tragic fact that people have been falling out of trains due to inhuman over-crowding. Mr Shashikant, Secretary of the Mumbai Suburban Railway Passengers' Association will also lead this effort through his organization.
     
  • Another major issue which has been causing much frustration among Mumbaikars are the frequent megablocks when trains are stopped for repair and maintenance work. While nobody denied the need for the work, the bungling and callousness that had crept in, has increased passengers misery. The megablock on the central railway line over the New Year weekend, has caused several deaths and led to long delays for at least three days after the work was completed. Mr Samir Zaveri has already filed a complaint against Railway General Manager Subodh Jain, seeking a FIR to be filed with the railway police in this regard. While the action has perturbed railway officials, it is hoped that this will make them more accountable and force them to plan work with more care.

 

The Coalition will be open to all individuals and organisations who want to support safe and humane rail travel. It seeks the association of experts and retired railway executives. The group will meet on the first Saturday of every month between 3pm to 5 pm and is open to all. Moneylife Foundation (www.mlfoundation.in) will be the convener of the group.
 

Mr Piyush Goel, Member of Parliament (MP) Rajya Sabha attended the meeting and promised to support the group by helping to make their voice heard by policy makers. He felt confident that the new Railway Minister, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal was sincere about making a difference and would be willing to give a fair hearing to issues that are cogently argued and backed up.
 

Everybody agreed that the task on hand was gigantic an would require a lot of support, but small incremental successes based on doable projects was the way forward.

User

COMMENTS

rajesh verma

2 years ago

The only solution to this overcrowding is to have more tracks. During morning peek hours six tacks to operate for south bound trains and reverse this arrangement during the evening peek hours. The authorities should realise that a large number of working class living in north Mumbai come to south for their livelihood.

nagesh kini

4 years ago

I'm a rare rail traveler.
On talking to a lady at my banker she spoke to me about a common at the same time a serious problem of people who have to board trains at starting points. This happens generally at Borivili and Virar, may be from Thane and another terminii.Passengers from stations before these stations board the seats and prevent genuine passengers boarding from the starting stations who have to stand all the way.This lady requests some one takes this up with the Railways. I've asked her to make out a request signed by others similarly affected to enable me to submit it at ML.

REPLY

Akshay Iyer

In Reply to nagesh kini 4 years ago

Hello Mr. Kini! Yes, this kind of occurrence is a common feature in Mumbai local trains and hence it is not coming to me as a surprise. However, I'd like to help you in taking this matter forward.

Sachin Purohit

In Reply to nagesh kini 4 years ago

To be fair to the people who board from the station prior to the starting point - they do so because they themselves don't want to be the ones who have to fall out of inhumanely overcrowded local trains. Put yourself in their shoes, and you will realize that you too might do the same thing. The root cause is that we Mumbaikars are funding the railway budget in a big way and yet we do not get a better frequency of trains. Fight for a better train traffic and all such issues would get addressed automatically.

nagesh kini

4 years ago

I'm a rare rail traveler.
On talking to a lady at my banker she spoke to me about a common at the same time a serious problem of people who have to board trains at starting points. This happens generally at Borivili and Virar, may be from Thane and another terminii.Passengers from stations before these stations board the seats and prevent genuine passengers boarding from the starting stations who have to stand all the way.This lady requests some one takes this up with the Railways. I've asked her to make out a request signed by others similarly affected to enable me to submit it at ML.

chandra shekhar

4 years ago

*1 the traffic on rail, for outbound and inbound (to-n-fro various STATES) must end at *Virar, *Kasara, *Khandala ... suggesting the satellite junctions to shift !

*2 all the old rail-n-sleepers under the rail need to be replaced, with new ones !!

*3 encroachments on both the sides of rail-tracks must be STOPPED once n for all !!!

*4 create more rail-n-road tracks, parallel to each other between *Virar, *Kasara, *Khandala and MUMBAI, in order to accomodate more local-trains & BEST buses ( giving level playing to both, & prices on travel remains same) !!!!

*5 do not allow excess baggages
in local trains ... their timings can be deferred between
9pm to 6am, by introducing special brake-van local-trains into the system !!!!!

*6 for safety-n-security, introduce queue system as is prevalent in BEST services, hire
people from Ex-defense Forces and make best use of their training in "disciplining" the local-commuters !!!!!!

*7 increase number of local-trains, rail-tracks, brake-vans trains, BEST buses and above all
"efficiency" in the whole Rail-System !!!!!!!

*8 do not at any point in time,
encourage "over-crowding" and not to encourage Builders to construct buildings near the rail-tracks on both its sides !!!!!!!!

reg.,
Chandra

M G WARRIER

4 years ago

Issues like road and rail safety normally do not get a priority in mainstream media reporting unless these could be sensationalized. Moneylife is an exception. Generally, my LTTEs(Letters to the editor) on a variety of subjects generally get published by newspapers. I am unlucky, when the subject matter is Railways. Two sample letters, which are relevant in the present context, which didn’t get published, are reproduced below:

I-Neglected class

The protest by passengers at Kurla Terminus on Wednesday ( July 21, 2010) should open the eyes of all marketers and service providers who dump third quality products and services on customers who have no choice in the given situation. Whenever someone points out inadequacies, Railways particularly plead helplessness referring to the increased number of passengers they are made to cater to with limited infrastructure and manpower.

That the problem has reached the breaking point is evident from the increasing number of casualties in accidents caused by bad maintenance, overloading of compartments in suburban locals and lack of concentration on the part of staff who are made to work shift after shift without mandatory breaks for rest.

As regards the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) episode, another related issue deserves mention. That is the Railways’ neglect of satellite junctions created for reducing pressure at main stations (in this case, CST, Dadar, Mumbai Central) in the matter of providing services, maintenance and ensuring other linkages. The difference in treatment can be seen even in the routes allotted for such stations.

The protest by passengers on Wednesday should be seen in this backdrop and authorities should provide comparable facilities and comforts for passengers traveling from stations like Kurla Terminus as Railways are charging fares at the same rate whether the train travels between CST and New Delhi or between LTT and H. Nizamudeen.

M G Warrier
June 28, 2010

II-Indian Railways

Indian Railways, with about 70,000 route kilometers and more than 8000 locomotives is one of the largest rail-systems in the world. In accepting modern technology and introducing better safety networks and practices also, Indian Railways have made much headway in the recent past. Konkan Railway and Delhi Metro have become legendary landmarks in its march forward. The massive efforts and deployment of huge funds for providing better transport facilities for the millions of passengers and transporters of goods get shadowed by inefficient handling of on-line supervision of services, inadequate attention to maintenance of tracks, premises and coaches as also loss of lives on the tracks in accidents. When the Railway Budget for 2012-13 will be presented next month, one is tempted to suggest to the Railway Minister to consider a one-time performance appraisal/audit of the working of railways, factoring in the following aspects (the list is only indicative):
• Safety of tracks, bridges and other structures which have outlived their normal life or are giving warning signals. Budget should provide a token allocation for replacement/renovation where necessary.
• Review of accidents during the last, say, five years. Preventive action on the basis of lessons learnt from the accidents, progress in payment of compensation to the survivors of those who lost lives and the injured, rehabilitation measures etc
• With specific reference to Mumbai suburban locals, what best can be done to reduce overcrowding in coaches which also causes death/injury to several passengers daily.
• Amenities that can be considered for smooth flow of passengers to and from platforms and from one platform to another.
• Cleanliness of the premises, inside coaches, availability of water in toilets, quality and cleanliness of linen and food provided/served inside compartments.
This appraisal/audit should be in addition to and not by or through the other ongoing inspections/supervisory arrangements.
M G Warrier, Thiruvananthapuram
January 12, 2012

Sensex, Nifty struggling: Weekly Market Report

Uptrend to continue as long as the Nifty stays above 5,900
 

The market settled higher in the week, its best weekly performance since November, on the US budget deal and reports that the Indian government plans to hike diesel prices. Positive economic indicators also supported the upmove. Local investors will focus their attention to the December quarter earnings season for further direction to the market.

 

The Sensex closed the week at 19,784, a gain of 339 points (1.74%) and the Nifty rose 108 points (1.82%) to 6,016. The uptrend is expected to continue as long as the Nifty stays above 5,900.

 

The market settled lower on Monday amid range-bound and volatile trade on weak global cues as the world waited for a solution for US’ fiscal woes. Key benchmark surged on the first trading session of calendar 2013 after the US Senate approved an agreement early Tuesday to keep the world's biggest economy from falling off the fiscal cliff. Global optimism following the US budget deal enabled the market closing higher on Wednesday.

 

Gains in oil & gas, technology and IT stocks as well as global cues saw the indices closing higher on Thursday. A remarkable recovery in the last half hour enabled the market maintain its winning streak on Friday.

 

BSE Realty (up 5%) and BSE PSU (up 4%) were the top sectoral gainers while BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (down 1%) was the only loser.

 

The top performers on the Sensex were ONGC, BHEL (up 7% each), GAIL India, State Bank of India (up 5% each) and ICICI Bank (up 3%). ITC (down 2%) was the lone loser on the index.

 

The main Nifty gainers were Punjab National Bank (up 8%), ONGC, BHEL (up 7% each), BPCL and IDFC (up 6% each). ITC (down 2%), Lupin and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries (down 1% each) settled at the bottom of the index.

 

The HSBC India Services Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for December stood at 55.6, up from 52.1 in the previous month, registering the fastest pace of growth in three months.

 

The HSBC India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI)—a measure of factory production—stood at 54.7 in December, up from 53.7 in November. The December reading indicated the fastest pace of growth in the past six months.

 

The government may take a look at raising the cap on supply of subsidised LPG cylinders to nine per household in a year from current limit of six along with the Vijay Kelkar Committee recommendations to deregulate diesel prices by next year along with steep hike in cooking fuel rates.

 

The Kelkar Committee, which was appointed by finance ministry to suggest a roadmap for fiscal consolidation, had recommended an immediate hike in price of diesel by Rs4 per litre, of kerosene by Rs2 a litre and of LPG by Rs50 per cylinder.

 

In international news, the US House of Representatives late Tuesday night passed the “fiscal cliff” bill by 257 to 167 votes, ending a dramatic New Year’s Day showdown over income taxes and deep federal spending cuts. Had not passed, fiscal cliff would have resulted in increased tax rates for more than 98% of Americans.

 

Meanwhile, the minutes of the December meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee released on Thursday hinted at an earlier-than-expected end to its unprecedented bond buying programme. In September, in an unprecedented move, the Fed linked its bond buying programme to unemployment, pledging to continue the scheme until the US jobless rate falls to 6.5%, from the current 7.7%.

User

Mumbai’s Development Plan 2014-2034: Citizens should become proactive

An interactive discussion on the Mumbai Development Plan was conducted by Moneylife Foundation on 3rd January wherein participants urged the citizens of the metropolis have their say

The people of Mumbai have a one-week window in which to play an active role in helping to ensure that the Mumbai Development Plan for next twenty years (from 2014 to 2034) addresses all our concerns. This was the message from a packed and interactive workshop at the Moneylife Foundation Centre conducted by the Urban Development and Research Institute (UDRI) on 3rd January.

 

The Mumbai Development Plan, which envisions the future of Mumbai from 2014 to 2034 is of special importance, since it is the first time public participation has been officially sought and encouraged in developing the planning itself.

 

Pankaj Joshi, executive director of UDRI, explained that a development plan had first been drawn up in 1964 and was revised in 1981. Only 10%-12% of each of these plans were implemented in the past fifty years. Consequently, the city has been growing rapidly, but without a proper development plan in place. He also said that if the new development plan (DP) for Mumbai isn’t drafted well, there is a chance that another generation would lose out on the benefits intended by the plan.

The DP has been sent to all ward offices under the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) to seek feedback from citizens and to evolve a consensus about mapping locations properly. Mr Joshi urged participants to become more involved to make it a meaningful exercise. “The city’s boundary has increased by 2000 hectares i.e. 20 square kilometres which is equivalent to 4000 Oval Maidans being added to the city. At the same time, there has been a substantial decrease in saltpans, mangroves and wetlands,” noted Mr Joshi.

He also pointed out that markets and hawking zones form an integral part of the city’s landscape and cannot be wished away. It is therefore important to map these projects. Mr Joshi said that facilities such as carsheds for the Mumbai Monorail project do not even exist as per the current development plan.

 

He urged participants to work with coordination by helping the Municipal Corporation to map them correctly. The session was followed by an engaging discussion on the future of Mumbai. The experts at UDRI agreed that a development plan is much needed. The plan would map the growth of the city in a phased manner with active participation of citizens.

 

You can access videos of past Moneylife Foundation events on our Moneylife TV channel on YouTube here

 

If you’d like to empower yourself, do join Moneylife Foundation for free. It costs nothing and you will be part of one of the fastest growing communities in India. Click here to join Moneylife Foundation
 

Details of all other events can be found here.

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COMMENTS

nagesh kini

4 years ago

The response of the Mumbaikars was indeed great. It indicates their abiding interest in their great metropolis.
Thanks to UDRI for their effort in highlighting the massive goof ups.
Our locality had certain major concerns too. We had made out a draft submission. We were called by UDRI for putting it down in the proper perspective.
I fail to understand why Mumbai-based home grown organisations, with a ground level feel for Mumbai-centric concerns such as the UDRI/CitispaceE are not preferred but the French who don't know Borivili is different from Dombivili are assigned such essential local issues. Globalization should not mean doing away with localization!

nagesh kini

4 years ago

The response of the Mumbaikars was indeed great. It indicates their abiding interest in their great metropolis.
Thanks to UDRI for their effort in highlighting the massive goof ups.
Our locality had certain major concerns too. We had made out a draft submission. We were called by UDRI for putting it down in the proper perspective.
I fail to understand why Mumbai-based home grown organisations, with a ground level feel for Mumbai-centric concerns such as the UDRI/CitispaceE are not preferred but the French who don't know Borivili is different from Dombivili are assigned such essential local issues. Globalization should not mean doing away with localization!

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