Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw travelled by a local train between Thane and Diva stations on the Mumbai suburban rail network for inspection of two additional railway lines, and ate ‘vada pav’, a popular snack, at a roadside eatery during his visit, officials said.
Vaishnav arrived in the city this morning ahead of the event in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to virtually dedicate the newly-constructed railway lines connecting Thane and Diva in the afternoon. He will also flag off two suburban trains on the route. The minister boarded the Central Railway-operated local train at Thane station around 1 pm and travelled to Diva station with a couple of stations lying in between.
While travelling in a second class compartment, he interacted with passengers on-board and also at Diva station. Union Minister of State for Railways Raosaheb Danve, Railway Board chairman V K Tripathi and other officials also accompanied Vaishnaw in the local train. After a small function at Diva station, they returned to Thane by a special inspection coach, railway officials said.
Vaishnaw then tasted a ‘vada pav’ and tea at a roadside stall outside the Thane railway station, they said. Meanwhile, chaos prevailed at Diva station’s platform number one as people gathered in large numbers to witness the function in which the ministers took part. Passengers later complained that they could not catch trains due to overcrowding, while some others said they could not alight. Mumbai’s suburban locals are considered as the lifeline of Mumbai.
Presently around 60 lakh commuters use suburban locals everyday due to travel restrictions on account of the pandemic, though over 75 lakh passengers used to travel on the suburban locals before the pandemic.