The boisterous crowd of commuters at Andheri and Ghatkopar railway station has caught the attention of Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal. Ever since the stations were merged with Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar (VAG) Metro rail corridor, footfalls increased drastically, leading to crowd congestion.
After BJP MP Manoj Kotak brought the issue to his notice, Goyal asked both Central and Western to inspect these two stations. "I have asked both CR and WR officials to jointly study and come up with plans to improve infrastructure at Ghatkopar and Andheri stations. They will submit a report to me within 30 days," said Goyal.
On Friday, at an inauguration function, Goyal expressed concern over the ever-increasing crowds at the two railway stations. The rail authorities claim that crowd using this 11-km long Metro line spills on these two railway stations.
According to railway figures, these two suburban railway stations witness a daily footfall of 6.50 lakh and 3.90 lakh commuters. Similarly, the Andheri and Ghatkopar Metro witness daily ridership of 99,000 and 1.19 lakh respectively.
According to sources, authorities have already started addressing the issues raised by the minister.
A Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) spokesperson said, "At Ghatkopar, we have increased ticketing counters by 114% (from 7 to 15) and AFC gates at railway side concourse by 57% (from 14 to 22). At Andheri, we have increased ticketing counters by 160% (from 5 to 13) and scaled up AFC gates by 47% (from 15 to 22). Now, the commuter holding area has increased by 25% at both the stations. We have also enhanced the security facilities. To ensure smooth commuter movement, we are making structural changes at the concourse level by relocating the retail area and increasing security checkpoints along with AFC gates. We will continue deploying our staff at nodal points to nurture queue discipline among commuters."Meanwhile, the CR officials stated that they are contemplating to shift food stalls to improve holding area. "We have asked the MMOPL to shift their entry/exit points further to ease congestion," said a senior CR official.
The WR officials on the other hand claim that work on two new FOBs is in progress. "We are also working on widening platforms and staircases wherever needed. Also, work on extending platforms for 15-car train will be over by December which will allow us to run more trains towards Virar from Andheri," said a WR official.