Even as May 1 was celebrated as Maharashtra day, there is a little known fact that, on this day, the Dombivli Railway Station also completed 132 years of service.
Speaking to Abasaheb Patwari, the first president of Dombivli Nagar Parishad, gave us a glimpse of the events from the past, taking us down the memory lane with him.
Back in the 1970s, there were four platforms at Dombivli and commuters boarded local trains from all the four platforms. “There was less rush and no one had to stand on the doors, everyone used to get space inside the coaches. Slowly as rush increased and station started getting crowded people started agitations demanding more platforms and trains from Dombivli. When Madhu Dandavate was the Railway Minister and visited Dombivli for some programme, I had requested him to visit Dombivli station too. The event finished late at 02.30 am and he could only visit the station the following day in morning and he witnessed the rush of people. Then when Rambhau Kapse became the MP from Thane constituency, finally the Dombivli local train service was started in year 1995,” Abasaheb said.
Abasaheb now feels that there should be more 15 coach trains and starting from Thakurli, so that commuters from both these stations get benefited.
Babanrao Lokhare, General Secretary of Federation of Bombay Suburban Passengers Association, remembers that there was a goods loading dock on platform number five in Dombivli. “And when space was required by railways, Abasaheb Patwari asked the Railways to utilize the space but for making Dombivli terminus and had also asked to speed up the work for fifth and sixth line. However, the railway authorities at the time said the number of commuters from Dombivli is too less to be making all these changes. Eventually, with help of Rambhau Kapse, things expedited and we got success. Now July 1, 2019 Dombivli terminus will complete twenty five years,” Lokhare said.
He said, “During festivals, he also assisted by being at the ticket counter and vending tickets to assist the staff as rush increased. If we fell short of money while tallying, we had to pay from our own pockets.”
He remembers, “In 1979, once there were no trains and passengers got agitated. Things got out of control and someone tried to burn a train halted on platform number two. At the time, me and advocate Nandu Joshi (ex corporator) came to the station and asked everyone to keep calm by way of public announcement system. We even called for more police personnel and eventually the situation was controlled. On January 1, 1974 Railways workers went on strike and Mumbai Pune passengers were abandoned by the staff at Dombivli station. We got information that Rambhau Mhalgi, MLA from Pune was in the train with some other friends of mine. We reached the station and made arrangements for an alternate transport route via road in unmarked cars. Now, I cannot walk properly and cannot go to station, but my blessings are always with all the commuters.”
Nandkumar Deshmukh, President of Suburban Commuter Association said, “Our predecessors have done their best and we will also continue to keep working for the good of commuters of Dombivli.”
Lata Argade, Secretary of the Suburban Commuter Association said, “MLA Ravindra Chavan and MP Shrikant Shinde and the railway authorities are not giving enough attention to things happening in Dombivli station and the commuters’ situation. Citizens are not happy and this time voting percentage has come down – also because many voters are out on holidays.”
Station Manager K. O. Abraham said, “Dombivli station has completed 132 years but sadly there is no special commemoration of it held.”