A month-and-a-half after an accident over the Kopri bridge at Thane killed three people, the remains of its girders are still hanging over active tracks on the CST-Thane line, putting more lives at risk.
Officials of Central Railway (CR) and the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC), however, say there is no risk involved, that the girders have been “secured” firmly and that there is no danger of them falling.
“The accident happened because the railways and TMC ignored the girders placed over the tracks. Now, they’ve left the remains of the bridge hanging over a running track that carries lakhs of commuters every day,” Makarand Gupte, a regular commuter and Thane resident said.
“Will these things simply keep continuing? The girders may have been tied up, but do they have to remain that way?” asked Hareshwar Raje, another commuter.
“The Kopri bridge has been redesigned and work will begin soon. We will remove the hanging girders by this weekend and start building the new bridge. We will ensure that at least a pedestrian bridge is ready for commuters,” Kamal Lala, TMC’s city engineer.
“There is no cause for worry as the existing girder has been secured. TMC is redesigning the bridge,” CR chief spokesperson SC Mudgerikar said.
In the Kopri accident on October 23, three people, including the motorman of a Kalyan-bound 12-coach slow local, were killed after a concrete girder of the under-construction Kopri road overbridge collapsed on the motorman’s coach.
Virar-Vasai commuters plan silent protest on Dec 10
Over the last five years, suburban rail commuters boarding from Vasai-Virar have struggled to get Western Railway to ease the burden of their daily ordeal of packed trains, which frequently run late, with 15 commuters squeezed in per sq m inside an average train.
This year too, the Pravaas Adhikar Andholan Samiti (PAAS), which represents Vasai-Virar commuters, will stage a silent protest on December 10, which is International Human Rights.
Over 200 commuters are expected to gather at Vasai (W) station. “We will meet at around 6.30 pm to mark our protest against the pathetic commuting conditions on our local trains,” said Shailendra Kamble, convenor of PAAS.
“WR will not be able to add it scheduled new trains for another one-and-a-half years because of its ongoing DC-AC conversion,” added Kamble. As of now, the group has said the protest will be silent.
Two months ago, the protests were violent, with commuters from this far flung belt on the Western line, involved in clashes with the police, stone throwing and ransacking of the railway stations, to protesting frequent delays and faulty overhead wires in the area.
Last year on the same day, PAAS had asked commuters between the suburbs of
Mira Road and Virar to boycott train travel from 6 am to 6 pm.