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A walk & talk with Mumbaikars

Wednesday, March 14, 2018
By Shaiber Raichur

Citizen Walk

In this new series, The Afternoon D&C catches up with the regular folk of Mumbai as they make their way, to and fro, from office and school to face the challenges of poor civic infrastructure

Sandhya Prabhu is an employee who works at Ballard Estate, Mumbai, and is a resident of Badlapur, West. Travelling daily by train Sandhya shared her sweet and sour experiences with The Afternoon D&C.

Speaking with The Afternoon D&C, Sandhya said, "I am travelling on this route for the last 15 years and the number of population has increased to a great extent, due to which people now are facing many kinds of difficulties".

Speaking about her travel to work and back, Sandhya said, "I just don't know how to describe my journey, because I have some sour experiences as well as sweet memories".

While describing her schedule Sandhya said, "I leave my residence at 6.45 am to board a 7.15 train because the 'autowallas' in my locality work in a slow motion routine. If we hire a share-an-auto then they wait for four more passengers to come and spending on a direct auto is not affordable on a daily basis, so I have to wait daily for the auto to fill  up. Unless and until there are five people in the autorickshaw, including me, they won't move".

Speaking about the road conditions in her locality, she said: "They are the worst because of which we the residents face many problems. First of all the roads are covered with potholes. Secondly, wires of cables and electricity hang around the roads almost close to where the pedestrians are commuting. Thirdly, the footpaths are meant for the hawkers  as they dominate it and don't allow us to walk, hence we with our small kids we have to walk on the roads"

The western part of Badlapur station is more crowded than the eastern, so during the rush hours it is very difficult to walk along the station road as the rickshaw drivers and others driving two-wheelers and three-wheelers create a continuous burden for the general public.

The vehicles near the station are parked at random which is another reason for the traffic.

About the station premises, Sandhya said: "The premises are well maintained and clean but there is a need for an escalator on the western side as there are many senior citizens who cannot climb the stairs of the foot-over-bridge.

“One of the most important issues I want to highlight is the gap between the platform and the train, this is a very serious issue which the authorities should look into. One more thing I would like to suggest is that the authorities punish  commuters who cross railway tracks, and also those who throw garbage on the railway station, very strictly", Sandhya added

“To catch a train from Badlapur is a very hectic job as the women present on the platform run to catch the running train which sometimes turns into an accident when many fall or get stuck between the platform and train. This happens daily, the only reason being to grab a vacant place for them to sit.

“Inside the train sometimes I don't get a place to sit. I still remember the time when I was a fresher when even if the train was packed the people used to get up and give us a place to sit, but now getting a place to sit is impossible. Even senior citizens are left standing with none bothering to give up their place, which I feel is really very sad.

“As I have been travelling for so many years, my trains timings are fixed, so now I have made many friends who also travel with me on the same train, so our journeys are quite  enjoyable as time passes by chatting, singing, and also celebrating various festivals on the train itself.

“After getting down at CST station the crowd is never-ending, and sometimes while getting down from the train there are people carrying big baskets of clothes or vegetables around which makes movement difficult for the fast moving crowd who jostle  to move ahead.

“The distance from CSTM to my office is 20 minutes walking and after seeing the bus, which is irregular and the tantrums of the taxi drivers I prefer walking.”

“And it is not easy too as during the morning hours drunkards sleep on the footpath with families and kids, to which the authorities turn a blind eye.

“My office timing is nine to six, so while returning home, the crowd on the CSTM station is very large that I prefer to board the train after everyone does so, thus travelling standing halfway through my journey. This is how I travel daily.”

Sandhya concluded by saying that: "As I travel daily I am now used to it but that doesn't mean the authorities concerned have to ignore the issues, because most of the people who travel go to colleges, office and this are certain places where they need to reach on time, so according to me all these issues should be looked into and the authorities should find a solution to manage the crowd".

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