The Western Railway (WR) authorities have given a clean chit to railway officials in connection with the Elphinstone Road station stampede in Mumbai. An inquiry team set up to probe the incident found that the stampede was caused due to panic and confustion at the entrance to the railway station. It added that the spell of rain on September 29 morning had contributed to the surge in commuters entering the station in a rush. At least 23 people were killed and several people injured in the stampede.
“The incident was caused due to panic and confusion created on the bridge coupled with rains. No one can be held responsible for the incident,” Ravinder Bhaker, chief public relations officer of the WR, said. A five-member inquiry committee consisting of senior railway officials and headed by the chief safety officer, had been set up to probe the incident.
In a report, which was submitted to the general manager of the WR on Tuesday evening, the team enlisted suggestions to decongest the staircase. The team made suggestions such as relocating the booking counter, regulating the vendors’ entry during rush hours, setting up additional CCTV cameras for monitoring, and providing a hotline facility at stations.
Earlier, a probe conducted by the Dadar police had mentioned that the confusion was created after one of the commuters said ‘phoo gir gaya‘ (flowers had dropped), which was perceived as ‘pul gir gaya‘ (bridge has fallen), triggering panic among commuters.