After the Central Railways (CR) faced serious flak from the government for inadequate communication with commuters during and after the December 31 incident, Vinay Mittal, chairman of the Indian Railway Board also criticised the CR’s lack of communication.
“The system lacked a proper passenger information system. The media, commuters and passenger associations should have been informed properly about the scale of work being carried out. Disruption was inevitable, but people would have accepted it had they been informed in advance,” said Mittal.
On December 31, services on the main line were delayed by 45 minutes and 180 services were cancelled, owing to remodelling work of Thane yard being carried out between Mulund and Kalwa. The CR had enforced a 16-hour block on December 30 for the work, but it was extended to 6am the next day. Three persons died and two others were injured in the chaos that followed.
Mittal, who was in the city to inspect the progress of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) and for an annual safety audit meeting of the four zones, said, “We are yet to ascertain the link between overcrowding and the death of the three passengers as two out of three of them were travelling against the direction of the peak-hour rush and the third was not travelling during peak hours.”
To ensure that such a situation does not arise in the future, Mittal plans to revamp the railways’ passenger information system with help of the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS). He has also directed top CRIS officials to examine the city’s passenger information system, while working towards revamping it.
“Infrastructure work is important and is bound to cause disruptions. However, with the help of CRIS, we can work to develop a passenger information system that will help strengthen the communication system of railways,” added Mittal.