As many as 40 new foot overbridges and 70 additional escalators at railway stations on both Central Railway (CR) and Western Railway (WR) have been proposed by the ten multi-disciplinary units that conducted the audit of 126 railway stations in the city over the last week. Improved infrastructure and increased manning by employing security personnel to manage crowd at the suburban railway stations have been recommended too, according to officials.
After the stampede on the staircase of the foot overbridge at Elphinstone Road station on September 29, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had asked for formation of multi-disciplinary units at railway stations. The auditing units comprised senior officials from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and Railways who were assigned different railway stations to understand the need for additional infrastructure to cater to the rush at the stations.
“The inputs are largely aimed at proposing additional infrastructure and personnel required to man those facilities. We have proposed additional bridges at stations, required during peak hours. At the same time, requirement for more escalators have been highlighted at the stations,” said a senior railway official who is a part of the committee.
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. “We have also asked for constructing additional railings at some station areas for safety of commuters. At some places where we found the crowd to be large in numbers from both directions on the bridge, we have recommended a unidirectional movement of the crowd,” said a senior official.
Officials from the Railway Protection Force (RPF) also formed part of the units. “We have asked for compulsory manning of the foot overbridges by the staff. For example, crowded stations like Dadar should at least include four staff from the RPF on their bridges to man the crowd. If issues of staff crunch persist, we have even recommended aid of Maharashtra Security Force (MSF),” said an official.
Among the other recommendations, the officials said, there should be more signboards and floor signs to guide commuters at platforms and bridges. They said the items earlier categorised as ‘passenger amenities’ would be included in the ‘safety category’, which would expedite their implementation.
“We are conducting a meeting of the respective officials in the audit teams on Monday to discuss and finalise upon the recommendations. The respective suggestions will be weighed according to feasibility and requirements. A compiled report will be sent to the general managers then,” added another official.