Monday, Mar 19, 2018 | Last Update : 04:43 AM IST
The minister has also refused to be part of the rising trend of inaugurating toilets, lifts, escalators and foot over-bridges.
Mumbai: Union railway minister, Piyush Goyal will stay away from the renaming ceremony of Elphinstone Road station to Prabhadevi on Friday.
The minister has also refused to be part of the rising trend of inaugurating toilets, lifts, escalators and foot over-bridges. Officials said the decision to stay away from the renaming ceremony was a well thought out political move as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was left red-faced during the ribbon-cutting ceremony of Ram Mandir in December last year by the then railway minister Suresh Prabhu. The ceremony had been hijacked by the Shiv Sena.
The Ram Mandir naming ceremony proved to be a disastrous public relations event for the BJP and the party felt that they were not being given their due by their counterparts in Mumbai despite pushing for renaming the station with the home ministry in Delhi. An official said, “If you remember, the Ram Mandir inauguration was a mess with Shiv Sena corporators, MPs yelling trademark Sena slogans, while the BJP workers were almost drowned out.” It was an unspoken fact, that since Mr Prabhu himself was a part of the Shiv Sena, he did not take the robust display of ownership of the name change, too seriously.
But that isn’t the case anymore. According to sources, Mr Goyal, rumoured to have a more aggressive style of administration, has said that he will not do the inauguration, at least for now. The official further added, “For now we don’t even know if we should wait for another visit for the official name change to Prabhadevi, or do it quietly without making much of a fuss, like CSMT.”
The minister has also refused to be part of the inauguration of passenger amenities and has instead asked officials to just start these facilities for the commuters. He will stick to inaugurating only the 60 new local services on both Central Railway (CR) and Western Railway (WR).
Both CR and WR had provided a list of passenger amenities on stations and platforms that are waiting to be inaugurated by the minister. Under CR, there are four lifts at Kalyan, two at Thane, one escalator at Dadar and Thakurli each, new gardens at CST under CSR, which are waiting to be inaugurated.
WR has an even bigger list. Besides the name change of Elphinstone to Prabhadevi, the minister was to inaugurate Pay and Use toilets at Vasai Road and Virar; wi-fi at Bhayander; lifts at Borivali and Virar; indicators at Vaitarna, Saphale and Kelve Road on the Virar Dahanu section, and finally a solar panel to light up the premises of the Mumbai Central station in an eco-friendly way.