The decision to carry out the construction of the FOBs on a war footing was announced when Devendra Fadnavis visited the Elphinstone Road station.
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“The move to include the aid of Army is welcome. However, the same raises eyebrows on the efficiency of the engineering department of the Railways and its administrative section, considering they are unable to complete the work in the given time,” says a railway activist.
The minister’s remarks come at a time when the railway has been facing embarrassment over the recent spate of train derailments and after the Elphinstone foot overbridge stampede claimed 20 lives in Mumbai.
A five-member panel of the Railways said in its report that the stampede was triggered by heavy rains and ‘confusion’
“The stampede took place because of the unexpected heavy rain which forced the public outside the station to rush to the staircases which were already crowded,” said Western Railway’s Chief PRO Ravinder Bhakar
The tender was incidentally floated on September 29 –the day 23 people were killed in the stampede on the existing decades-old foot overbridge.
An inquiry team found that the Elphinstone Road station stampede was caused due to panic and confusion created on the foot overbridge, coupled with rains.
The report identifies 183 points across the local suburban railway services as “accident prone” with the stretch between Kurla and Mulund on the central line being “the most accident prone”.
There are also recommendations for increasing safety equipment at stations that include walkie talkies, megaphones, more CCTV cameras, and installation of dividers inside the foot overbridges.
“Around the same time is when a young girl slipped on the stairway leading to a domino effect and ensuing a stampede. Looking to escape, people trampled over one another. Within ten minutes, it was all over”
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Akash Parab, who lives in Vikhroli, was among the 39 injured admitted at the hospital on September 29 after rains and peak-hour rush triggered a stampede on the foot overbridge that connects the Elphinstone Road railway station on the Western line with the station at Parel on the Central line.