MUMBAI : The Western Railway on Monday achieved another major milestone when the Dahanu-Churchgate local entered its sixth year. Recently, the WR celebrated the 150th glorious years of smooth run.
On 16 April 2013, the then Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal alongwith the then CM Prithviraj Chavan, flagged off the 10.10 hours local from Dahanu and the train covered 124 km in about 3 hours to reach Churchgate.Earlier commuters between Dahanu and Virar (a distance of 64 kms) had to interchange shuttle or outstation trains at Virar to reach Mumbai in crowded locals for the rest of the 60 km commute to Churchgate. According to rough estimates, around a lakh commuters use the current service and hence there is a massive real estate boom beyond Virar till Dahanu, thanks to the DahanuChurchgate local.
Meantime,the Western Railway (WR) has cited lack of rakes, tracks and overcapacity for the introduction of Ladies Special between Dahanu and Churchgate to a query by Rajkumar Chorghe, a Vasai based railway activist who had petitioned before the High Court in this regard.
The WR on 17 November 2017 had replied to a query sent by Rajkumar Chorghe in October 2017,the railway activist who had petitioned before the HC for the introduction of the Ladies Special between Dahanu and Churchgate. The WR says due to the non availability of rakes, tracks and 133.9 per cent overcapacity between Virar and Dahanu, it is not possible for the introduction of the Ladies Special between Dahanu and Churchgate.
It is to be noted that Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Nitin Jamdar of the HC in September 2017 while hearing the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Chorghe the petitioner to approach the WR , and provide all details like the number of women commuters between Dahanu and Churchgate, the crowd position of women during peak traffic hours, number of local train services between Dahanu to Churchgate and other details.
The HC observed that Chorghe did not first petition to the WR in the above matter and directly filed the PIL which was admitted in August 2017 which the HC heard in September. The petitioner should have first approached the WR and the file the petition, and the petitioner was given a month's time in this regard and if the WR does not respond, the HC could be approached again, the order mentions.
Chorghe said, since 5 May, 1992, the WR have been running the Virar-Churchgate ladies' special with the first ladies' special starting between Borivali and Churchgate and then extended to Virar. But after the WR services were extended to Dahanu suburbs, no such ladies' special is there, and women commuters are forced to travel in Mail, Express and shuttle trains, often getting into fisticuffs with other male commuters,said Chorghe. Scores of women from Dahanu, Vangaon, Boisar, Palghar, Umroli, Kelwe, Saphale, Vaitarna commute to Mumbai for work, including Mantralaya employees, BMC school, college teachers and students, employees working in the Bandra Kurla Complex, fish mongers, vegetable vendors and other categories. Hence, I had filed the PIL and requested the HC to intervene so as to order the WR to start a ladies special to Churchgate from Dahanu at the preferred time slot of 0730 hours, and a suitable time in the return journey, and now with the reply by the WR, I will pursue the matter again before the HC in April 2018, said Chorghe.