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Railway Problems Of Mumbai
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Kirit Uncle's Kid's Corner
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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 corrective measures.

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.
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