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Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019

Crossing makeshift railway bridge in Vaitarna an offence

Residents of Wadhiv, however, expressed their displeasure at WR for blocking their only route to Vaitarna station, located 1.4km from their village.

mumbai Updated: Aug 21, 2019 04:05 IST
Ram Parmar
Ram Parmar
Palghar
Residents of Wadhiv, however, expressed their displeasure at WR for blocking their only route to Vaitarna station, located 1.4km from their village.
Residents of Wadhiv, however, expressed their displeasure at WR for blocking their only route to Vaitarna station, located 1.4km from their village. (HT image)
         

Western Railway (WR) on Tuesday put up a warning sign on a makeshift railway bridge on Vaitarna river to prevent commuters from villages of Wadhiv and Sativali from using it.

The 45-year-old bridge has been the only connection for the islanders to get to Vaitarna station, but since April 1, four people have been killed while walking on it, either by a speeding train or being thrown off the bridge by gusty winds. WR officials said people found walking on the rail bridge will be booked and personnel from the Railway Protection Force will be soon posted there to prevent entry onto the bridge.

Residents of Wadhiv, however, expressed their displeasure at WR for blocking their only route to Vaitarna station, located 1.4km from their village. “Around 2,000 people from the island have always used the space between the railway tracks [meant for maintenance workers] to reach Vaitarna station, which is the closest for us. Now, we will have to go to Saphale station, which is 3km away to board a train to Mumbai or Dahanu,” said Praful Bhoir, deputy sarpanch of Wadhiv gram panchayat.

Bhoir said villagers from Wadhiv have long been asking for a station or a foot overbridge to reach Vaitarna station. “We risk our lives daily to commute for our basic needs,” he said.

WR officials said the warning sign was to prevent accidents. “It is the state’s responsibility to make arrangements for people [from Wadhiv and Sativali] to reach Vaitarna station,” said Ravinder Bhakar, chief public relations officer for WR. Kailash Shinde, Palghar district collector, said a proposal has been floated to start a ferry service between Wadhiv and Saphale by the Zilla Parishad. “WR has constructed another bridge [number 93] near Wadhiv with a walkway to reach Saphale, but villagers still risk their lives by walking on bridge number 92,” he said.