Monday, December 10, 2007

Commuters boycott train!!

Hundreds of commuters boycotted train services on the suburban line of Western Railways on Monday to protest against shortage of rail services to suburbs beyond Borivali.

The boycott was called by 'Pravasi Adhikar Aandolan Samiti' (PAAS) between 6 am to 6 pm on Monday, which is demanding more trains between Churchgate in South Mumbai and north-west suburb of Virar, a route that is normally crowded with lakhs of commuters travelling on it daily.

"The protest will be peaceful and no attempt will be made to stop trains or people from boarding them," Shailendra Kamble, convenor of the PAAS said.

"The organisation would protest through slogan-chanting and picketing outside stations between Mira Road and Virar to protest against the inhumane conditions faced by commuters daily," he said.

On a busy Monday morning, trains from Virar to South Mumbai are usually packed but the scenario was distinctly different on Monday with most trains running with comparatively fewer passengers.

Unlike, earlier protests which turned violent, there were no incidents of violence but there were reports of agitators forcing out commuters from the trains originating from Virar.

Some protestors blocked the tracks near Virar and there were reports of emergency chains being pulled on trains to disrupt services. There was strong police presence at stations from Mira Road to Virar with almost 40 to 50 police personnel at each station, railway police said.

Chief Public Relations Officer for Western Railway Pranai Prabhakar said all trains were running on schedule. "There was an incident at Virar at 8:15 am where some protestors blocked tracks but they were cleared by the police. The services remain unaffected," he told PTI.

Western Railways had quadrupled rail tracks between the suburban stations of Borivali and Virar, inaugurated earlier this year, and had increased suburban services to Virar, but PAAS is protesting against "under-utilization of the available infrastructure " and is demanding a greater frequency of trains on the route.

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