3 months on, no sign of new FoB at Dombivli’s eastern end
Commuters walking to Dombivli railway station from the eastern (Kalyan) side are being forced to walk the extra mile to reach the platform. The reason? The foot overbridge (FoB) on the eastern side, declared dangerous by Central Railway (CR), has been shut since April but a new one has not come up in its place.
This, in turn, has made the remaining two FoBs of the station bear the extra load of these commuters, resulting in overcrowding during peak hours.
Dombivli station sees a footfall of almost four lakh commuters every day.
“We are being forced to take a longer route to reach the station since the (eastern) FoB) is closed,” said Anuja Singh, 30, a commuter who lives near Indira Gandhi Chowk in Dombivli (East).
The railways, many commuters said, has not started work on any new FoB as promised earlier.
The 40-year-old FoB on the eastern side not only helped people from areas such as Patkar Road, Rath Road and Madhuban Talkies Lane reach the station faster but also aided them to cross over to the western side of Dombivli station.
Even though many complained that its roofs and railings were highly damaged, things remained as they were. It eventually took the collapse of the Himalaya FoB near Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus on March 14 — in which six were killed and 31, injured — for CR to audit all its railway bridges and close many of them, including the Dombivli FoB, for repairs.
The CR, however, requested commuters to use the two other FoBs at Dombivli station, saying it would build a six-metre-wide replacement on the eastern end. But even earlier, in September 2018, divisional railway manager (DRM) Sanjay Kumar Jain had assured people a new FoB would come up by June this year.
Although CR has started dismantling the existing structure bit by bit, no progress has been made on the new construction. Jain, despite repeated attempts, could not be reached for comment.
“The FoB has been shut for three months now and there is no clue if they [CR] will repair it or build a new one,” said Swati Gawali, 42, who commutes from Dombivli to Chembur every day. “Even if one FOB at the station is shut, it leads to congestion. The skywalk is overcrowded during peak hours making it difficult for the women commuters and senior citizens to walk.”
An official from Dombivli railway station, on the condition of anonymity, said, “The work is under progress. It has been affected due to the rains. Whenever there is no rain, the work is being carried out. It will gain momentum after the monsoon.”
“We are not against the closure of the unsafe bridge but what about building the new bridge. The railway has just managed to remove some parts of the FoB in three months, which shows their inefficiency in completing the project,” said Anil Udasi, 39, a resident of Manpada, Dombivli.
Lata Argade, vice president, Mumbai Rail Pravasi Sangh, said a signature campaign has been initiated by many commuters to raise their voice against the inconvenience caused to them.