Protesting commuters damage railway station near Mumbai

July 21st, 2008 - 4:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, July 21 (IANS) Railway commuters in Thane district near here went on a rampage Monday morning and damaged a station, protesting against people blocking seats in trains on the Western Railway’s suburban network. The agitation, which spontaneously started at around 9 a.m. at Nalla-Sopara station, went on for over four hours, throwing the entire rail network out of gear, a Western Railway spokesman told IANS.

Though there were no reports of casualties, the damage caused to the station is being “assessed”, he said.

There was strong police presence in and around the Nalla-Sopara station, while additional forces were rushed to check a probable fallout at other railway stations like Dahisar, Mira Road, Bhayander, Naigaon, Vasai Road and Virar - the last station on the Western Railway’s Mumbai suburban section.

The commuters were protesting against people who travelled in trains going towards north Mumbai to ensure they get seats when the train heads back south, the spokesman said. They wanted railway authorities and the police to check this trend, he added.

Presently, the Western Railway is managing with services only up to Vasai Road station from Churchgate.

The spokesman said there are over 250 services dedicated to the heavily-congested Borivali-Virar sector, in which Nalla Sopara falls. More than 50 services were added to this sector after the railway lines were quadrupled there last year.

However, huge developmental activities in the region like major residential townships coming up have added to commuters’ woes. An estimated two million commuters use this sector daily.

The additional services on this sector have barely helped ease commuters’ problems, especially during the peak hours in the morning and evening.

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