Following the stampede at the Elphinstone Road railway station, which claimed 23 lives and injured 38 more, the Mumbai Police have started a drive to clear foot overbridges (FOBs) of hawkers and making them no-hawking zones so that more space is available to commuters using them.
Action will be taken against errant hawkers under provisions of the Maharashtra (Bombay) Police Act, which allows the police to fine them for creating nuisance in public. “While we, time and again, carry out drives and fine the hawkers, they manage to return to the FOBs. However, after the Elphinstone Road station tragedy, we have decided to press in a sub-inspector rank police officer and a few constables to ensure that the FOBs are free of hawkers,” said Sunil Deshmukh, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Dadar division. “We have started the drive at Dadar and Elphinstone Road stations…,” he said.
Meanwhile, the police said while they would continue to monitor crowds on the FOBs, their role on crowd management at railway stations would become clear once the railways completes its audit. “If the audit team seeks any suggestion from the police, those will be provided. However, the exact role of the city police will be clear once the audit is complete. While the railways does not fall under the jurisdiction of the city police, if the audit team makes any suggestions for the police to follow, those will be followed,” said a senior officer.