On his first visit to Mumbai since taking over as Union railway minister earlier this month, Suresh Prabhu on Friday set a 10-day deadline for Central Railway (CR) and Western Railway (WR) authorities to ensure that suburban services run on time.
While reviewing their functioning, Prabhu asked CR and WR officials to chart out all the maintenance work that needs to be done and to complete it within a fixed timeframe.
He also asked them to submit a list of emergency works that need to be prioritised for smooth functioning of suburban trains.
Prabhu asked for a time-bound plan to be chalked out for the issues to be sorted out, including addressing the concerns of commuters.
Over 70 lakh commuters travel on WR and CR’s suburban lines daily and even minor disruptions on these lines adversely affect them.
Of late, CR has a witnessed series of disruptions on the suburban section, which include derailments, rail fractures, unit failures and so on. Member of Parliament Kirit Somaiya had recently visited Delhi to discuss the recurring problems on the Mumbai suburban section.
Majority of recent failures on CR have occurred in the Thane-Kalyan section. The administration has identified this as the most critical section in its emergency work list, which will be sent to the railway minister on Monday.
The CR administration has requested for additional funds of Rs 250 crore to undertake the maintenance work, which they claim is pending since last five years.
“Rs 250 crore is requested to clear the maintenance backlog of last five years and also more track repairing machines which will bring down the human intervention,” said Sunilkumar Sood, general manager, CR.
Meanwhile, Western Railway general manager Hemant Kumar said, “We have requested additional funds for platform raising, Borivli yard remodelling and sanctions for a sixth line for trains going from Borivali to Mumbai Central.”
On Friday, Prabhu also visited the railway colony at Carter Road in Bandra, where he met local legislator Ashish Shelar and MP Poonam Mahajan and discussed commuter issues with them.