One branch of the organisation where I work is located at Airoli. At times I need to visit this branch for work. The office is located in Airoli east, which is a hotbed of IT parks. Everyday, thousands of employees working in these offices use Airoli station to reach their respective workplaces. Considering the heavy footfall it receives everyday, one would expect the eastern entrance to have all the amenities required at a station. To my surprise, I found that the east side was devoid of even basic amenities. Forget a ticket booking office, CR has not provided even an ATVM at the eastern side! In order to use an ATVM, one needs to walk all the way to the booking office on the other side of station. In all, it is a 5-6 minute walk from east to west and back to platform. That beats the whole purpose of providing convenience of ATVM!
Everytime when I used the ATVM on west side, I could see many passengers coming from east to the ticket booking office at west. This means that there is definitely a strong case for providing an ATVM at east itself. I decided to do something about this. At that time, Railway Minister had recently announced that passengers could post their suggestions/grievances on Twitter. Every zone & division had a dedicated twitter handle to whom passengers could tweet their problems. This new initiative was getting a lot of attention & praise. Putting forward the request for ATVM at Airoli East would be easy due to this new initiative, I thought.
So, some time in August/September, I tweeted to CR & Railway ministry to install an ATVM at Airoli east. I waited with bated breath for their response…. And kept on waiting. The response never came. Over the next year or so, I sent several reminders at regular intervals. I tweeted to all possible authorities including GM, DRM Mumbai, Railway Ministry & the railway minister himself. However none of the tweets managed to catch the attention of authorities.
Slowly I realised that Twitter will not be helpful for this. I decided to take another method – RTI. On 15 September I submitted an RTI Request through the online portal rtionline.gov.in to the Ministry of railways. I asked for the reason why there was no action on my tweet, whether there was any plan to put up ATVM at Airoli east Thane end and whether a feasibility study was carried out for the same. There was no response in the deadline of 30 days, hence I filed first appeal. After filing appeal, the request was transferred to CR headquarters. On 20th October the request was transferred to DRM Mumbai. Again, there was no response in the stipulated 30 days. I filed first appeal for it on 22nd November. As of 8th December, there was no response to the first appeal, neither to the request itself.
So that is the whole story in a nutshell. The ATVM is nowhere in sight. In spite of IR’s claims of becoming passenger friendly, this is the struggle I am going through just for getting an ATVM installed at a location which would benefit thousands. It is no rocket science, and the work will take not more than 1 week. In today’s post demonetisation era, this is even more important to enable cashless transactions. However CR is just not bothered.
I’ve tried all possible means to get my valid demand heard by CR. I tweeted patiently for a year. When slight frustration creeped in, I said I will travel ticketless from Airoli in protest (As a responsible citizen I haven’t done this till date, but my patience is coming to an end now). Then I took the RTI route. But all these efforts have been futile. I have started losing all hopes of getting any response from CR on this matter.