The railway administration has started the construction of escalators at suburban railway stations in the metropolis for the services of railway passengers.
But an RTI query reveals that the two wings of the Indian Railways - Central Railway and Western Railway appear to be paying different amounts to get these escalators in place. According to RTI activist Anil Galgali, the price of the escalator installed in the Central and Western Railways is not the same. Galgali had sought information from the Central and Western Railways about escalators that have been set up and their costs. Deputy Chief Electrical Engineer of Central Railway, Neeraj Kumar Verma, informed that 20 escalators have been set up at 14 stations under Central Railway, at a total cost of 11,90,60,388 rupees.
A total of Rs 4.35 crore were spent on the eight escalators at Dadar, Thane, Dombivli and Kalyan stations, which works out to Rs 54,37,500 per escalator. Rs 3,09,93,750 has been spent on four escalators at Ulhasnagar, Bhandup, Vidyavihar and Bhandup, that is, an expenditure of Rs 77,48,437.5 has been incurred per escalator. Rs 76,96,000 have been spent on the escalator at Kanjur Marg Station. The Vikhroli station escalator costs Rs 72,62,625 while Rs. 77,45,309 were spent on commissioning the escalator at Mulund station. Rs 29,32,900, has been spent on two escalators at Nagpur station, that is, an expenditure of Rs 54,66,450 on an escalator. On the two escalators of Gulbarga station, Rs 54,77,268 and Rs 54,52,536 have been spent, respectively.
Western Railway on the other hand, has set up 34 escalators at 13 stations. The cost of an escalator on the WR is approximately Rs. 72.28 lakh and the total cost is approximately Rs. 18.8 million. 7 in Andheri, 1 in Bhayandar, 5 in Borivli, 2 in Dadar, 1 in Vile Parle, 6 in Goregaon, 1 in Kandivli, 2 in Vasai Road, 1 in Nalasopara, 2 in Surat, 2 in Vadodara, 2 in Ratlam and 2 in Ahmedabad is the Western Railway's count thus far. There are a total 34 escalators on the Western Railway.
Expressing surprise at the huge difference in the price of the escalators set at each station, Galgali claims that if the contract for the escalators had been given to the same company under the Central and Western Railways, it would definitely have saved money for the railways. Galgali has demanded an explanation into the differing costs of the escalators at every station.