Following an uproar for compensation from different political and apolitical groups in the city, Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge Friday announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh for Monika More, terming it as a “special case”. More, 16, lost both her hands in a railway accident at Ghatkopar station on January 11 after she fell into a six-feet wide gap near the signal pole of platform 2.
“As a special case only, I announce an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh for her,” said Kharge, who met the accident victim’s father Ashok More Thursday.
“Though there are rules and regulations and also a Claims Tribunal which can be approached by railway victims, I think on humanitarian grounds, something should be done for the minor who has lost both her hands in the unfortunate accident,” the union minister said. He urged corporate houses to help Monika get artificial limbs under the corporate social responsibility. “Mumbai is the financial capital of the country. I am sure Mumbaikars will come forward and help the girl,” said the railway minister.
On Thursday, it was demanded of the union minister that the height of platforms and medical services at suburban stations be increased.
Speaking at the inaugural of new traction and four new trains from Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT), Kharge said, “I have examined the demands and asked the Railway Board and the General Manager of Central Railway to make special provisions under the passenger amenities section and utilise the funds for raising the height of 74 platforms on the suburban railway.”
“Raising the height of 74 platforms, which will cost Rs 50-60 crore, will be done in three years. Whatever money can be provided in the Vote on Account in March will be given by the ministry and funds will be allocated for the work in the next budget.”
The CR has been asked to examine raising the height of platforms from the existing 760-840 mm gap to 840-920 mm. A senior railway officer, requesting anonymity, said, “Raising the platform height will have to be examined first. Once the Railway Board approves the new limit, work can be carried out.” Another senior officer said the Research Designs & Standards Organisation, the research wing of Indian Railways, will have to examine and certify the safety of the new limits since mail/express trains also use suburban platforms in Mumbai.
The minister also said the railways are willing to give parking facilities for medical ambulances at railway stations and the state government and corporate houses should extend their support to provide (medical) facilities.