Dadar station watching point to prevent anti-social elements
Due to the lack of space inside the Dadar station premises, no separate structure for the watchtower has been made. A long-heightened chair with a loudspeaker has been introduced as the watchtower
MUMBAI: In order to prevent overcrowding at railway platforms, foot over bridges, and to keep a watchful eye on crimes like pickpocketing and phone snatching, the Central Railway (CR) has introduced a pilot project called ‘watchtower’ or ‘watching point’ at the Dadar railway station, one of the busiest in the city.
As part of the initiative, a Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel is deployed at the station’s platforms three and four (where a single platform is positioned between two railway tracks.) during the peak office hours.
The watchtower concept has been introduced to the city’s suburban railway station, keeping the monsoon in mind to have a better view of the railway platforms.
In the past, the city has witnessed several fatal incidents due to overcrowding of the railway stations. The stampede incident at erstwhile Elphinstone Road (now Prabhadevi) station foot over bridge on September 29, 2017, where 23 people had died, and 38 were injured is one of them.
Due to the lack of space inside the Dadar station premises, no separate structure for the watchtower has been made. A long-heightened chair with a loudspeaker has been introduced as the watchtower.
The loudspeaker has been provided to railway personnel, who after noticing crowding on the platforms, will ask people to use other bridges in order to ensure smooth passenger movement.
As part of their duty, the RPF personnel will also sound the alarm for the passengers about maintaining distance from the platform when the train arrives.
At present, the railways have started the initiative with one watch tower at Dadar station and if successful, other watchtowers will be introduced here along with Kurla, and Thane railway stations. It must be noted that 3.5 million passengers travel by local trains every day on the Central Railway network.
“We are taking this step to have a bird’s eye view and keep watch over anti-social elements at the platforms. Due to rainfall, there are chances of overcrowding and congestion,” said Jitendra Srivastava, senior divisional security commissioner, Mumbai division of the Central Railway.
Passenger associations have welcomed the initiative and have stated that the watchtower will avoid any untoward accidents including stampedes at railway stations, “The watchtower at railway stations is a good idea as passengers will not just feel safe, but it will also avoid untoward incidents like a stampede. A stampede during monsoon on foot over bridges can occur like the one that happened at Prabhadevi railway station,” said Subhash Gupta, president, Rail Yatri Parishad.