Thursday, August 18, 2005

Travel woes continue

One Central Railway employee died of cardiac arrest after facing the unruly crowd and the stressful situation a rail roko agitation today. Three others, who were injured, have been hospitalised.

The trouble began when the mob resorted to an agitation at 7.50 am demanding regular suburban services in both the directions. However, the agitation ended by 9.00 am. But fresh trouble started at 10.10 am as commuters on the same route resorted to a train roko at Dombivli demanding fast trains to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST). Following this, commuters on their way to CST had to suffer as the train services were operated up to trouble-free Thane station.

The troubled stopped at 12.15 pm but again started half-an-hour later. The stir continued till 2.00 pm throwing schedules on the route haywire. The trouble again started at 3.00 pm and regular services could commence only at 5.15 pm. A CR spokesman said that prior to the July 26 deluge, which had washed away railway tracks, there was one fast train in the morning originating from Dombivli. This train was yet to be restored. He claimed that CR operated 80 per cent of its services. The situation would improve only after the Kalyan-Kasara track, which was damaged in the rain, was fully restored, he added.

Several long distance trains and suburban serives were suspended beyond Thane towards Kalyan as agitators staged rail roko on all the four tracks and pelted stones on the railway authorities, including the motormen, at Dombivali, Railway police sources said here. More than 500 commutters squatted on the four tracks from 10.30 am, they said. All the long distance trains coming towards Mumbai have been halted at various places, they said adding, however, the suburban trains between Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Thane are running.
We were not sure if we would be able to reach home this evening. I called up Mangesh in the evening after Jayganesh returned back to office saying that the agitation was persisting. We mentally prepared ourselves to go by road, if required. However, when we [Shyam, Jayganesh, Rupesh, Mangesh and me reached the station, we saw that though there was a lot of crowd, the trains were being released from Mumbai CST]. We decided to take a chance and got into a Kalyan local, with an agreement that if there were a problem on the way, we would get off and take a cabbie all the way to Dombivli / Kalyan after dropping Shyam @ Mulund.
However, we were lucky enough to reach home safely, though a bit late.

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