The Suburban Railways are
the life-line for all Mumbaikars. Of the total railway
commuters in the country, more than 50%, i.e. 59 lacs
commuters use the Suburban Railway service in Mumbai
every day. Mumbai Railways is also the only sector amongst
the other metros where Railways earn a profit. Delhi,
Calcutta,Chennai all make huge losses every year.
Inspite of this, for the
past 45 years, the allocation of funds to Mumbai Railways
by the Centre was the lowest compared to the other Metros.
All this resulted in the
collapse of rail services in Mumbai. Delays became the
order of the day. Mulund Railway Pravasi Sangh had brought
certain problems of rail commuters to the notice of
Mr. Somaiya. The problems like technical Failures, signal
failures, Engine break-downs, dislocation or fractures
in the tracks – number of reasons saw that the
services were consistently inconsistent. The hapless
commuter was helpless and harassed.
On this background, Shri
Kirit Somaiya took up the issue of the commuters. His
persistent follow up and untiring efforts and after
number of meetings with the Railway Minister, State
govt., Railway Officials – bore fruit when the
then Central Govt. formed a Railway Co-ordination Committee,
to look into the problems of Mumbai Railways and suggest
Convinced that if the ailing
Mumbai Railways has to be brought back on tracks, it
required a separate Board to manage the affairs independently,
Kirit Somaiya started to build up opinion in the Co-ordination
Committee to this effect.
His efforts picked up once
Shri Ram Naik became the Union Minister of State for
Railways. Being a Mumbaikar, Shri Naik was well versed
with the travails of the Railways and in 1998 the Central
govt. agreed to set up a separate MUMBAI RAIL VIKAS
NIGAM for Mumbai railways. This would be a joint effort
by the Central and State govt. and shall go a long way
in bettering and upgrading of the railway services.
Shri Kirit Somaiya has been
instrumental in getting the Railway Time-table amended
to be more commuter friendly. His efforts have resulted
in the Railways increasing the 12 coach trains. Now,
he has undertaken to beautify and maintain the Mulund
Railway Station. The station underwent a sea change
as hundreds of school children joined Kirit Somaiya
in cleaning up the platforms. The children did more
than their bit by the painting the platforms with different
illustrations and messages.
Today, Mulund Station is
complete with a Police Chowky, First Aid Centre, Clean
toilets and recently started computerised booking window
for out station trains. It was due to the efforts of
Kirit Somaiya that the work of the Mulund Railway bridge
restarted and the bridge was finally ready for traffic,
linking Mulund East and West.
It was on his initiative
that the state govt. agreed to relocate slum dwellers
near railway tracks between Ghatkoper to Bhandup, thus
facilitating the laying of an extra corridor between
Kurla and Kalyan. Today, 161 families from Vikhroli
have been relocated near the Hariyali Village at Kanjur
and work of laying the extra line has also been started.