Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today asked the Railways to complete by March 31, 2015 the work of raising the height of platforms, so as to prevent people falling into the gap between footboards of local trains and the platform.
The Railways had said it would take three years, but the division bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah said today that safety of commuters was of paramount importance. It also asked Railway Board to provide funds for the work urgently.
Height of 145 platforms on the western suburban railway line and 72 on the central line was proposed to be raised at the cost of Rs 96 crore, Railways' lawyer Suresh Kumar said.
The Railways had also identified 14 locations in Mumbai for emergency helipads, so that accident victims could be airlifted to hospitals, he said, adding that it had written to Maharashtra government for this purpose.
The court then ordered that notices be issued to the state, to make it a party to this public interest litigation.
These 14 locations are: Azad Maidan (CST), Matunga Gymkhana Ground (Dadar), Railway Colony Ground (Kurla), Dadoji Kondadev Stadium (Thane), Railway School (Kalyan), MIDC (Ambarnath), Adarsh Vidya Mandir Ground (Badlapur), Nandkumar Institute (Bhivpuri Road), Dolphin School (Vangani), Helipad in Lonavala, Near Ganesh temple (Titwala), Railway ground (Igatpuri), Panvel Helipad and YMCA ground (Vasai).
Besides, 12 helipads already exist in and around Mumbai, Railways said. An affidavit filed by the Railways said that because of traffic jams, victims do not reach hospitals in time and “use of helicopters is the only solution”.
There is a need to devise a system to make Air Force helicopters available for such rescue operations, it added.
The PIL was taken up by the High Court earlier this year on its own after Monica More, a college student, lost both her arms after falling into a gap between the platform and the footboard at suburban Ghatkopar station while boarding a train.