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Day 5: CR services disrupted

Lack of coordination between CR, BEST adds to misery with no extra buses plying, Prajakta Chavan Rane reports.
Hindustan Times | By Prajakta Chavan Rane, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JAN 02, 2013 01:55 AM IST

Even as suburban commuters suffered from disrupted Central Railway (CR) services on Tuesday for the fifth consecutive day, lack of coordination and communication between the CR and Brihanmumbai electricity supply and transport (BEST) undertaking, which operates around 4,000 buses in the city and suburbs, added to their misery.

While the CR planned two major blocks that lasted for 11 hours 45 minutes and 16 hours on Saturday and Sunday, which went on till Monday, it did not ask BEST to ply extra buses to help the commuters.

“The lack of communication between the BEST and railways was evident as no extra buses were plied to accommodate the rush. After being stranded at Ghatkopar station for over an hour, I thought of taking a bus but buses too were extremely overcrowded,” said Smita Raut, 27, a housewife from Ghatkopar.

A railway official said that though the changing of route-relay-interlocking (RRI) comprising crossover and signaling system has been completed, hassle-free operations would be possible only by the weekend.

“Till then, the services would be delayed by a few minutes as some minor technical glitches that may arise during the initial phase have to be attended to,” an official said, requesting anonymity.

Around 35 trains, mainly originating and terminating at Thane, were cancelled on Tuesday owing to the CR’s incomplete work on the line. Morning peak-hour services ran 15-20 minutes behind schedule.

When asked whether BEST has been asked to run more buses, V Malegaonkar, CR chief public relations officer, refused to comment. He did not say whether the railway had intimated BEST about the block last weekend. BEST officials maintained they were not informed.

“Generally, our depot managers take the decision of operating extra services after evaluating the ground situation. On Tuesday, such a requirement was not seen so there were no extra services. However, on Monday we operated 22 extra buses because of overcrowding,” said Manoj Varade, BEST public relations officer.

A senior BEST official said: “The CR never informs us about the mega block, our control calls the railway control to know the block status. On Sunday, our control was told mega block is nil and hence we didn’t operate any services.”

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