The Bombay High Court today sought to know from the Maharashtra government why a six-yer-old proposal for an elevated rail corridor on the city`s suburban network that would have reduced overcrowding in suburban trains to a large extent is being kept in deep freeze.
The court sought the information after counsel for the railways said that the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation had sent a proposal for an elevated rail corridor to the state government six years ago but it was not considered, perhaps because of the issue pertaining to floor space index along the rail track.
A bench headed by Justice Naresh Patil asked the state government to file an affidavit by 3 February, stating whether the proposal was stuck because of FSI or any other issue.
The issue came up while the HC was hearing a suo motu PIL from a letter written by A B Thakker urging reservation of a separate compartment for senior citizens in local trains.
Several issues had cropped up during the course of hearing, including overcrowding in trains. ''It is time that we (Court) will have to step in...The convenience of the people (commuters) has to be seen and better administration and better governance," the bench observed.
The Bombay High Court had in the course of hearing a similar case earlier, asked the state to consider changing timings of offices, schools and colleges to prevent overcrowding in suburban local trains.
The state government said it had issued an order providing one hour relaxation in office timings for Mantralaya employees from 1 January 2015. However, if an employee reached office late, then he has to compensate by working for that duration after office hours. The government also informed the court that it was considering its suggestion to change the timings of schools, colleges and statutory bodies during the peak hours to prevent overcrowding in trains.
"Nearly 3,000 people die every year on the railway tracks and we are just not bothered (about it).''
Railway authorities had earlier told the court that it was not possible for them to introduce double decker trains on the suburban routes for commuters.
The court had directed the Railways to consider providing a dedicated coach for senior citizens to ensure easy and safe access for them.
The bench had asked the Railways to conduct a trial run on the concept. The court had also asked suburban rail service providers to ensure that 14 dedicated seats are made available to senior citizens in all suburban trains.
"If there is a dedicated compartment for senior citizens in trains operating at a particular timing, senior citizens would rather wait for that train rather than get onto a crowded train," observed the HC.