Inauguration of newly-constructed suburban Ram Mandir station by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Thursday was marred by intense sloganeering by the activists of Hindutva parivar, including Shiv Sena and BJP, over taking credit for its materialisation, in view of upcoming BMC polls. A battery of political leaders, including MPs Gajanan Kirtikar, Gopal Shetty, Kirit Somaiya, MLAs Vidya Thakur, Ravindra Waikar, Diwakar Raote, along with senior railway officials were present on the occasion.
Located between Jogeshwari and Goregaon on Western Railway, the new station is said to be the only suburban station built between the stretch of Churchgate and Boriwli after independence. Its pending inauguration was a topic of intense speculation in political circles while local people were fuming over the delay. In his brief address, marred by intense sloganeering, Prabhu said more projects are in the pipeline for passengers.
“This project was being carried out since long and I am happy to hand it over to you all. I congratulate citizen for availing the services of this station. There are other several projects of passenger amenities which are being carried out by Railways and sufficient provisions including the investments have been made by the Railways to speed them
up,” Prabhu said. When the programme was underway, slogans like “Modi versus Shiv Sena” and “Jai Shri Ram” rented the air, forcing the authorities to wrap up the inauguration event. Hundreds of people, including activists of political parties, reached the venue, which resulted into disruption of the arrangement made by the Railway authorities.
Constructed at the cost of Rs 32 crore, Ram Mandir is the 37th suburban station on the Churchgate-Dahanu Road route of the Western Railway (WR). It will cater to the residents staying between Jogeshwari and Goregaon, and those from Oshiwara locality. The station draws its name from an old temple of Lord Ram located in the vicinity. Minutes after its inauguration, all slow Up and Down suburban services started halting at the station. Niranjan Pal, president of a lesser-known right wing outfit Veer Sena, said, “All these people are here to take the credit only. But the truth is that we worked hard to persuade the railway authorities and state machinery to finish it in time.”
Veer Sena members greeted the passengers with Jai Shri Ram slogans when first train took halt at the station. BJP MLA and MoS for Women and Child Development, Vidya Thakur said, “this station is the result of restless follow-up with the state and union governments and credit goes to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, CM Devendra Fadnavis and to local people. I am extremely happy that the station is named as Ram Mandir.”