Following a stampede on a foot overbridge at Mumbai’s Elphinstone railway station which killed at least 22 and left 39 others injured, it has been found that former railways minister Suresh Prabhu had been made aware of the need to build a wider bridge in its place. Prabhu had, over an year ago, assured a Shiv Sena MP of the construction of a wider bridge linking Elphinstone Road and Parel suburban railway stations.
A letter dated February 20, 2016, reveals that the Railways Ministry was about to undertake the construction work of the overbridge. In the letter addressed to Sena MP from Mumbai Arvind Sawant, Prabhu stated that the construction of a 12 metre wide new foot overbridge at Elphinstone Road was under the positive consideration of Railways Ministry.
The Elphinstone stampede, which took place at around 10.40 am, is suggested to have been triggered by heavy rains that drove people to take shelter on the bridge.
In the wake of the incident, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal announced a high-level inquiry headed by Western Railways’ chief safety officer. In addition, the Union Minister announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of each of the deceased, Rs 1 lakh for the grievously injured and Rs 50,000 for those with minor injuries.