Mumbai. (The Hindu): Despite political compulsions, the State government will soon have to remove encroachments around suburban railways tracks, following a strongly-worded directive from the Central government.
The directive asks the State government to act against concentrated encroachments near the tracks on the Mahim-Bandra, Dahisar-Borivali and Kandivali-Borivali stretches and at Bandra Terminus. “In view of track safety and flooding, these must be removed immediately,” it says.
The Central government’s order is based on reports of recurring safety issues and flooding on tracks during this year’s monsoon. A report submitted recently to the Centre by the Railways pointed out that flooding between Vasai and Virar on July 10 was due to widespread encroachment. A survey to ascertain causes of flooding found that the creek flowing near the tracks was blocked by encroachment.
The report said: “Due to heavy rain, the large area around railway tracks was submerged leading to flooding at many locations between Vasai and Virar. The survey was conducted at two waterways leading to Vasai and at Vaitarana creek, which were found to be choked due to large scale settlements. It was directed to widen and clean these creeks on an immediate basis. Necessary instructions for hydrological survey and auditing of drainage network may be issued.”
Railways officials said four sections mentioned in the recent meeting between Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis were part of the 10 encroached areas the BMC has been asked to act upon. Officials added that encroachments between Kandivali (East) and Borivali (East) and Bandra (East) were particularly large.
In Bandra (E), encroachments run parallel to the station and extend onto the road. Following a court order, the BMC had cleared some of the shanties near Tansa pipeline in November last year. However, the encroachments on railway land remained untouched as there was no formal order for the same, officials said.
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