Titwala rail roko hits peak hour traffic

The Asian Age.

Metros, Mumbai

Protest was due to a demolition by the KDMC of shanties located on land owned by the corporation.

Central Railway services were hit on Thursday due to a rail roko by residents of Titwala. (Photo: Asian Age)

Mumbai: The Central Railway (CR) saw its second rail roko for more than an hour at Titwala on Thursday, in a span of six days, with around 16 services cancelled while 40 were delayed. As a result, commuters heading out home were inconvenienced as the cascading effect severely crippled evening peak hour traffic on the mainline.

Unlike the rail roko on January 12 between Dombivli and Kopar, which took place due to the demolition of illegal shanties built on the railway property, Thursday’s protest was due to a demolition by the Kalyan-Dombivli-Municipal-Corporation (KDMC) of shanties located on land owned by the corporation.

According to a CR official, the residents of these shanties went to Titwala police station (Rural) located next to the railway line, but the police said that the demolition was legal. In a last ditch effort, the agitated crowd began to trickle through the Level Crossing (LC) gate no. 51, located a few metres from the police station. An official said, “The crowd just got desperate, they didn’t want to lose their homes and were not getting any support so they held up the trains and used it as a bargaining chip to hold up the demolition.”

Services were held up from 3.15 to 4.35 pm, making a lot of railway officials nervous. A team of 10 Railway Police Force personnel were deployed at stations that see heavy footfall like Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), Kurla, Dadar and Kalyan and stations like Badlapur and Diva who have gained notoriety for rail-rokos.

Commuters like Ashok Kamble (45), a who was travelling back to Kalwa from CST, said they were stuck at the station for more than half-an-hour. “I had made it to the station a little earlier than usual and thought I’d reach home early today but all my hopes were dashed when I heard the announcement,” he said.

Digital probe:
CR’s RPF will be using videos shot by their personnel at the station to identify the miscreants. Senior divisional security commissioner, Sachin Bhalode said, “Some of our inspectors had come down to Titwala for inspection, so when the incident occurred we have taken ample videos and will use these images to trace the ones who stopped the services.”