The events of the Wednesday morcha led to a chaotic situation at CST station.
Mumbai: Railways were overrun due to the Maratha’s reservation morcha crowds. Central Railways (CR) clamoured to manage the crowds with over 400 Railway Police Force (RPF) and 100 Ticket Collectors (TC) to maintain peace at CSMT, Dadar and Byculla. Around 24 last minute local services on the mainline and Harbour line were announced. Most of the traffic snarls were limited to South Mumbai and the passengers said that they were met with unusually less traffic while travelling from suburbs to the city.
The events of the Wednesday morcha led to a chaotic situation at CST station. Even though CR had chalked out a plan to deal with the rush, no one was knew what to do once the rush began to disperse. At around 2.00 pm, when the rally was scheduled to wrap up, the crowds from Azad Maidan spilled onto CSMT station. An official said, “People came to the rally in the morning from the suburbs and the crowd was constantly moving as they made their way to Azad Maidan, but within 20 minutes at around 2.00 pm the crowd began to get scary.” The CR then began to deploy senior officials at CST. It was all hands on deck. We are glad that there was no untoward incident.”, the official added.
The sudden spurt in numbers led to minor scuffles between daily commuters and the mob of visitors who were taking train from suburbs to reach Mumbai.
Incidents of scuffles owing to overcrowding were reported at some stations, but no official complaint was registered.
Unfortunately for the railways, there was a signal failure in Kurla at the 5.10 pm affected trains towards CST and hence there was a delay of services by almost half-an-hour as the train finally departed at 5.37 pm from Kurla.
RPF, divisional security commissioner Sachin Bhalode said, “We will keep monitoring the situation post 7.00 pm as well, just to make sure that there are no issues at the end of the day.” He further added, “We had received this vital information late on Tuesday night after which the plan to keep 70 RPF personnel on important stations was revised and 160 were decided to be kept with major focus on CSMT.”
Passengers in SoBo were also inconvienced after taxis were not easily available and the prices of Ola/Uber too increased to a triple from the same area.
Citing heavy traffic on roads, many protestors arriving from outside the Mumbai metropolitan region decided to park their vehicles in Panvel, Vashi, Thane from where they travelled to south Mumbai by trains.
The inflow of vehicles had begun since late night on Tuesday leading to heavy traffic and chaos in the tollbooths, despite the toll collection halted for the day.
In all, the Railway Protestors Force had 425 staffers and 65 officers deployment on important stations and Government Railway Police had 510 policemen and 54 officers to tackle crowds.
Men barge into ladies’ coaches
Women commuters were literally scared out of the women’s compartments of Panvel- and Andheri -bound trains on the Harbour line as hordes of unruly male commuters got into these compartments post the morcha. According to sources, the Central Railways had told the Railway Protection Force stationed at CST as well as the Ticket Collectors to not engage in any situation that might lead to an argument.