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MNS march in Mumbai: Clear hawkers from railway stations in 15 days, or we’ll do it our way, says Raj Thackeray

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief slams Modi government for focusing on projects such as bullet trains instead of resolving age-old commuter problems

mumbai Updated: Oct 05, 2017 16:03 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Raj Thackeray,Maharashtra Navnirman Sena
MNS chief Raj Thackeray amid supporters in Mumbai.(FILE )

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray on Thursday asked the railway administration to remove hawkers from foot-over bridges at all Mumbai stations within 15 days, while addressing the crowd at Churchgate after his march to protest against the Elphinstone Road station stampede that killed 23 commuters last Friday.

“MNS workers will take matters into their own hands if the Railways fail to remove the hawkers,” Thackeray threatened. The foot-over bridges at several railway stations in Mumbai are old, narrow and totally inadequate for catering to the large number of commuters who use it. The poor condition of the foot-over bridge is one of the main reasons for the stampede at Elphinstone Road station. Commuters have been complaining for long that using the narrow foot-over bridges at several stations is all the more difficult because illegal hawkers peddle their wares on them, blocking what little space is there.

Thackeray said there is no difference between the current BJP government at the Centre and the previous one, and that the woes of Mumbai’s commuters have remained unsolved for decades.

He slammed the Modi government for chasing ambitious projects such as the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train. “The project is being built for a handful of people in Gujarat and Mumbai, but the entire country will have to repay the loan to be taken for it,” he alleged. “Suresh Prabhu was removed from the post of railway minister because he opposed the bullet train project.”

“The Modi government has betrayed people like me who trusted it,” the MNS chief said.

The protest march started from Metro cinema in south Mumbai at 1.30pm, two hours after schedule, and ended outside the Western Railway headquarters at Churchgate. Thackeray gave a memorandum to railway officials and then addressed the crowd.

He ended with a warning to the railway administration and the government that his next agitation wouldn’t be so peaceful if this march did not have the desired effect and issues were not fixed.

First Published: Oct 05, 2017 15:57 IST