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Lakhs travel as danger lurks

BMC excavators, JCB machines work menacingly beside tracks without any safety measures.

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Here’s a perfect example of lack of co-ordination between the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the railway authorities, putting the lives of commuters at peril. Repair work on the Tansa pipeline near Kurla has literally put lives of commuters at risk, with JCB machines and excavators working too close to the running lines without any safety barricades or buffers.

As soon as DNA brought it to the notice of Central Railway, they sent a team of officials and the railway protection force to stop the BMC work, which was being carried out without intimation. “I was quite shocked to see an orange JCB machine too close to my window as the train passed the level crossing gate near Kurla. As I peeped out, I could see some workers draining out silt as trains passed by,’’ said a commuter.

BMC officials said that they have been working to plug a breach in the Tansa pipeline that provides water to Kurla. The line passes under the railway lines and it involved workers entering railway premises with excavators and machines.

Authorities had also cut water supply to the area to facilitate work.
The work involved bringing down a JCB machine into a huge drain that passes under the railway line, removing the silt, pumping out water and then fixing the damaged pipe.

While railway officials said that they had not sought any permission from the railways to carry out any work in their premises, BMC officials from the Hydraulic Department had set up a camp there.

Two years ago, work on excavation of old rails on the fifth and sixth lines had led to a major accident near Vikhroli, when a JCB machine hit a running fast train, injuring commuters and damaging the suburban train. It had been later found that the JCB attendant working along the tracks was listening to music while operating the machine.

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