In a bid to devise ways to address the problems of overcrowding, passenger accidents in the city’s suburban trains, the Bombay high court has decided to bring together all stakeholders, including the General Managers of the Central and Western Railways, senior officials of the railways, the amicus curiae appointed by the court, and all other stakeholders.
A bench of Justices VM Kanade and Nutan Sardessai said on Thursday that it will summon the officials for a meeting supervised by the court. “This seems to be a way of arriving at some possible solution as our past orders have failed to yield any concrete results. The authorities have done little to check overcrowding inside the trains and at platforms of the railway network. Maybe if everyone sits together, we can come up with practical solutions,” the bench said.
HC is likely to decide on a date for the meeting in the next hearing on November 23. “Of the various directions passed and suggestions made, the most practical solution seems to be to introducing staggered office timings. This way, the peak hour rush can be checked,” the bench said.
The observations came while the bench was hearing a PIL filed by activist Sameer Zaveri asking the court to direct the authorities about checking overcrowding in local trains and ensuring adequate security arrangements for passengers.
Various benches of the HC have been hearing the PIL since 2014 and have also passed several orders such as increasing the number of trains, reserving seats for senior citizens, getting RPF personnel to guard the coaches reserved for women passengers, reducing the gap between stationary trains and the platform, installing CCTV cameras, and ensuring that all suburban rail platforms have a functional medical emergency room.
In the last hearing, the court had also suggested that the railways hire a private consultant to look into possible solutions. It had also enquired whether the railways had a dedicated research and planning team to address the above issues.