As the number of people using trains rises steadily and the crowds at stations increase, commuters have been demanding that the Central and Western Railways both build more foot over bridges (FOBs).
Monday’s agitation at Diva Junction was the result of delay in the opening of an FOB at the station. The FOB was to become operational in July, but now officials say it will be ready only by the end of September.
Commuter associations believe people are being forced to put their lives at risk and cross tracks as there aren’t adequate number of FOBs to accommodate the 70 lakh commuters who use the two suburban networks everyday.
“We have been demanding FOBs at several stations, but officials are delaying construction. It leads to accidents,” said Madhu Kotian, member, Mumbai Rail Passenger Association, which recently requested that FOBs be built the railway stations of Diva Junction, Badlapur, Parel and Kalwa on the central line.
The Western Railway has promised it will construct 13 FOBs over two years. The plan to build new FOBs and revamp existing ones was made a year-and-a-half ago after a section of an FOB in Santacruz collapsed.
Officials argue that commuters will continue to cross tracks. “We have recorded people crossing tracks even when FOBs are empty. Only children use the bridge,” said an official, refusing to be named. Commuter associations point out that commuters should be given the choice.