The ever-growing crowd at Parel station results in a stampede-like situation every single day. Repeated complaints by commuters have forced the Government Railway Police (GRP) to deploy more staff at the station during peak hours, which are usually from 8.30am to 11am and 6pm to 8pm.
The increase in the number of passengers and the narrow CST-end staircase, which is used by a lot of commuters, have made the congestion problem worse at Parel station. The GRP currently has four to five constables at the station to manage the crowd, but even this isn’t sufficient. Hence, two more constables will be deployed at the CST-end for better crowd management.
However, during the surprise visit on Monday evening by the state women commission member Chitra Wagh, no police personnel could be seen at the foot overbridge.
“I didn’t find a single policeman at the platform or on the foot overbridge. It is highly disappointing. Accidents are just waiting to happen because of overcrowding, and we need the police to man such situations,” said Wagh.
She said, “I have suggested that railway authorities use platforms 3 and 4 if some fast trains need to stop during peak hours, so that pressure on platforms 1 and 2 will reduce.”
GRP has also decided to coordinate with the Railway Protection Force (RPF) to increase its force at Parel station. “We have deployed additional staff at Parel and have also informed the RPF to provide more manpower,” said Rajeshwari Redkar, assistant commissioner of police, GRP, Mumbai division.
Hindustan Times has been consistently reporting about the dismal condition of the Parel foot overbridge and the CST-end narrow staircase that leads to the platform. In its February 19 edition, HT had pointed out how the narrow and old bridge was like a disaster waiting to happen with more and more commuters using it.
Following this, the Central Railway undertook repair work at the footbridge. However, there still seems to be no long term solution to reduce the pressure and congestion at the single widely used entry and exit point.
The railways have proposed constructing Parel terminus, but it would take at least three to five years for the project to be completed. For commuters, this means extension of their suffering.