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Mumbai’s CST overbridge collapse revives tragic memory of Elphinstone stampede: A look back

The incident is a grim reminder of the stampede that took place on a foot overbridge (FOB) connecting the local railway stations of Elphinstone Road. At least 22 people were killed and 39 others were injured.

Written by Christina George | New Delhi | Updated: April 3, 2019 9:04:29 am
Mumbai's CST overbridge collapse revives tragic memory of Elphinstone stampede Mumbai police at the spot after stampede at Elphinstone station. Express photo by Nirmal Harindran.

Almost two years after the horrific Elphinstone foot overbridge (FOB) stampede incident in Mumbai, which killed 22, a foot overbridge connecting Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus platform with BT Lane collapsed Thursday killing four people and injured more than 30 others.  See Photos

A look back at the Elphinstone foot overbridge incident

The incident is a grim reminder of the stampede that took place on a foot overbridge (FOB) connecting the local railway stations of Elphinstone Road.

Follow: Mumbai CST bridge collapse LIVE updates

At least 22 people were killed and 39 others were injured. The memory of the stampede left several scarred. The injuries are still painful for those who survived the mishap and memories of that day, perhaps, more agonising. While some stare at unemployment following incapacitating injuries, others continue to nurse a fear of local trains and railway bridges.

Elphinstone Investigation

Probing the incident, the Mumbai police found two main factors contributing to the stampede — the rains that compelled commuters to stay put on the foot overbridge, and the constant crowd of commuters alighting from the trains adding to the crowd.

Mumbai's CST overbridge collapse revives tragic memory of Elphinstone stampede: A look back At least 22 people were killed and 39 others were injured.

Another reason given by the witnesses was a cry of frustration, ‘phool gir gaya’ (flowers have fallen), from a flower seller mistakenly construed as ‘pul gir gaya’ (bridge has fallen). 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,” a report from the Indian Express said.

Railways response

Railway authorities were jolted into action ordering the construction of 10 new FOBs on both Central and Western Railway of which three were built by the Indian Army.

The Railway Claims Tribunal (RCT) awarded compensation to thirty-six victims who survived. It awarded the next of kin of 17 dead Rs 8 lakh each; 19 others got money proportionate to their injuries. Those with simple injuries got around Rs 25,000 each, and people who were seriously injured got more.

Budget post-Elphinstone accident

In the first budget proposed after the Elphinstone Road station stampede, highest allocation was made for foot overbridges in the city. It allocated Rs 880 crore to construct bridges and provide amenities for commuters.

While the CR received Rs 450 crore for constructing 42 bridges for the zones (21 for Mumbai suburban), the Western Railway has received Rs 430 crore for 43 bridges.

New Bridges

Five months after the incident, a new foot overbridge constructed by the Indian Army was thrown open to the public. The new Elphinstone Road bridge, spanning over the Central and Western Railway tracks, connects Central Railway’s Parel station on the east side and Phoolwali lane outside the Elphinstone Road station on the west side.

Mumbai's CST overbridge collapse revives tragic memory of Elphinstone stampede: A look back Devendra Fadnavis, Piyush Goyal and Shubhash Bhamre at the opening of the Indian Army’s three newly constructed foot over bridges at Elphinstone railway station on Tuesday. Express photo by Janak Rathod.

Three other bridges at Parel, Currey Road and Ambivali stations was also constructed.

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