Railways fails to curb encroachment
Hundreds of autorickshaws parked illegally outside the station despite dedicated parking spots
PUNE: The Pune railway junction of Central Railway falls in the ‘A1 category’ of Indian Railways. Around 2.5 lakh people visit the junction daily. The railway has to provide several facilities to passengers. The railway has developed four separate lanes for the vehicles to pick and drop passengers. The autorickshaw stands were also developed behind the PRS ticket booking building. However, hundreds of autorickshaws are still parked illegally near the Mahatma Gandhi statue, which inconveniences passengers.
On Monday, Shyamal Sinha (48) arrived from Delhi on an official tour. He barely escaped an accident when an autorickshaw parked in the lane suddenly moved towards the exit gate.
”I am new in the city. I was going to a hotel near the junction. When I was crossing the last lane (behind Mahatma Gandhi statue) the autorickshaw almost hit me. However, I fortunately escaped unhurt,” said Sinha.
As per a source from the Pune railway division, the lanes are encroached by autorickshaw drivers. The railway has already provided a space behind the PRS counter, where over 200 autorickshaws can be parked. The situation worsens during the peak hours, especially in the evening. The Railway Protection Force (RPF) and Government Railway Police (GRP) manage traffic on the premises. But their personnel are never present there during the peak hours, said the source. “If the GRP is not available, it is the responsibility of RPF to manage traffic,” they added.
In 2016, the railway administration had constructed the ramp for vehicles. There are four lanes in front of the main building. The first lane is meant for VIP vehicles (if required the lane is opened for other private four-wheelers). The second lane is for pick and drop while the third lane has been given to app aggregator cab service (Ola and Uber). The fourth lane is only for drop and vehicles move towards the exit gate.
The issue was raised by Sagar Vijay Borkar, member of Zonal Railway User’s Consultative Committee (ZRUCC) of Central Railway recently. He said, "The autorickshaw drivers have occupied the space, which is only for vehicles dropping passengers. Several pedestrians cross the lane to go outside the premises. I raised this issue with the Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) and also with the Zonal Manager during the zonal meeting with ZRUCC. I also wrote a letter last month, but nothing has been done yet."