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Students turn activists, help Mumbaiites commute better

The activity, named ‘Meter Down’, was organised with the support of city police

mumbai Updated: Oct 16, 2017 16:33 IST
Musab Qazi
Musab Qazi
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,auto,taxi
Students of KPB Hinduja College of Commerce confront a taxi driver after her refused to ply short distances. (HT photo )

The recent tragedy at Elphinstone Road station amplified the fact that the daily commute in the city is not only a hassle, but also a risk.

While authorities are trying to contain the chaos on the city’s streets and at railways stations, they are now being assisted by students from various colleges. From managing traffic at busy junctions to helping people find taxis, students are taking efforts to ensure a more comfortable commute for Mumbaiites.

Last week, a group of students from Rotaract Club of Hinduja College, Girgaum, helped commuters haul taxis in the area near Crawford Market, as many cabbies refuse to ply short distances. The students confronted those drivers who refused ply and warned them that they could lose their licence. The activity, named ‘Meter Down’, was organised with the support of city police.

“Mumbaiites are dependent on taxis and auto rickshaws for their daily commute. But they are often forced to plead, especially during the monsoon, with the drivers. The activity was protest against the arrogant behaviour of these drivers,” said Yashvi Mehta, one of the volunteers.

Besides helping people get taxis and autos, the students also helped traffic police personnel manage traffic at busy junctions, especially during festive season. When lakhs of devotees thronged the Lalbaugcha Raja pandal during Ganeshotsav, about 30 students from National Service Scheme (NSS) team of MD College, Parel, volunteered to control the crowd and traffic in the area. They helped the authorities manage the queues of devotees, control traffic and assist the elderly and physically challenged devotees.

Students from KC College, Churchgate, plan to hold a similar initiative near Churchgate station in November. “The traffic police trains students in traffic management. They are then given uniforms, aprons and whistles and are deployed at traffic junctions. They work shoulder-to-shoulder with the police,” said Satish Kolte, NSS coordiantor of the college.

On the other hand, a few colleges carry out cleanliness , beautification and safety awareness drivers at nearby stations. One such college is Vivekanada Education Society’s Institute of Technology, which has adopted Chembur station.

“Every day, we witness unhygienic condition at the station. By cleaning the station premises, we not only help ourselves but also motivate others,” said Sharadul Malvankar, general secretary, student council of the college.

The colleges also routinely conducted safety awareness campaigns at railway stations and roads. For example, students from Mahatma Degree Night College, Chembur, approached bikers without helmets at traffic signals and hand them artificial flowers to remind them about road safety. They are educated two-wheeler riders about the the importance of wearing a helmet.

BMM students from SK Somaiya College, Vidyavihar, conducted a cleanliness drive at Vidyavihar station.

First Published: Oct 16, 2017 16:33 IST