Free Wi-Fi at suburban railway stations in Mumbai contributes to overcrowding, the Western Railway said in an audit report, according to DNA. The railways is planning to restrict the frequency of free internet to decongest railway stations. This comes a month after the stampede at Elphinstone Road railway station in September, which claimed 23 lives.
The audit report mentions that non-commuters also stand at foot overbridges and railway stations to use the free Wi-Fi while some use the internet to watch pornography. “Hence, it is recommended that the availability of Wi-Fi should be restricted to main concourse hall, and not extended to all platforms or foot overbridges,” DNA quoted the audit report as saying. “A provision shall also be made to switch off the Wi-Fi at night.”
Free Wi-Fi is available at 15 stations across the Western Railway, including Mumbai Central, Dadar, Bandra, Andheri and Khar Road. “We have already sent the recommendations to the board, and it is a matter of a day or two before we get the green signal,” Chief Public Relations Officer (WR) Ravindra Bhakar told the Mumbai Mirror.
Apart from restricting Wi-Fi, the authorities may also consider clearing unwanted structures, toilet blocks and food stalls to allow for easier movement at stations. Vendors and hawkers carrying luggage may also be restricted from stations during peak hours in the morning and evening, the Mumbai Mirror reported.