Mumbai

Malad is a commuters’ nightmare

Creating chaos: The under-construction FOB at Malad station.

Creating chaos: The under-construction FOB at Malad station.   | Photo Credit: Vijay Bate

Defunct FOB, dug-up roads and hawkers jostling with pedestrians make for a rough ride

Commuters are having it rough at Malad station, with the demolition of a foot overbridge (FOB) and the digging up of an arterial road. Not only is the area congested, with hawkers and pedestrians jostling for space and causing traffic hold-ups for hours, but commuters are having to use just two FOBs.

Malad has 9.5 lakh people, according to the 2011 census, and is among the city’s densest areas. During peak hours, some trains originate and terminate at Malad station considering the large number of people commuting from here. On the station’s eastern side, an FOB connects to the western side but not to the platforms. Another one, which is wider and used more frequently, leads to the station.

On the western side, the station connects to the busy SV Road. Pedestrians, vehicles and hawkers jam the arterial road at all times with the Natraj market, Gupta market, a shopping complex and a temple existing in the locality. An old FOB on the northern end was demolished earlier this year and its remains can still be seen at the spot.

A new FOB was constructed nearby, with two landings on the western side. However, its landing on platform number 4 is still not ready, due to which commuters wanting to go to the platform have first to use a connector to the central FOB, which is at the northernmost end.

The central FOB has its own hold-ups. This reporter has found an escalator connecting to the FOB defunct on several occasions every month, making it necessary to climb it.

The southernmost FOB, which has a ticket counter, was partially demolished earlier this year. Some of its debris is still at the site. The Western Railway is constructing a new FOB here, which will take two months to be ready.

“During Diwali, going to the station was a nightmare. No autorickshaw driver would be willing and even if one of them agreed, he would drop you at SV Road, from where you have to walk for a good 15 minutes to get to the FOB,” said Sandra D’Souza, who lives on New Link Road and commutes to the station every day.

Milind Kokate, a resident of Chincholi Bunder, said, “People residing to the south of Mith Chowky suffer the most. Since there is a no-entry after Liberty Garden, they have to take the Somwari Bazar Road, which drops them to the southernmost end, from where they need to walk to the northern FOB.”

Ravindra Bhakar, CPRO of Western Railway, said, “Work on dismantling the old FOB is under way, after which construction of new one will be done. We are expecting to complete work by the year-end. However, there is only one report of the escalator going out of service in October for two days.”

To make matters worse, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has undertaken repairs of the uneven station road on the southern side. “We received lots of complaints regarding this road. It was in poor shape, so we are re-laying it,” said a Road Department official.

All this is in addition to haphazard hawking, heaps of garbage from the vegetable market and the narrow Anand Road outside the station. Commuting promises to be a nightmare at Malad, at least for the next few months.

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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 2:13:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/malad-is-a-commuters-nightmare/article29903125.ece

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