Congress targets PM Modi over Elphinstone Bridge stampede, blames him for neglecting railway infrastructure

Congress spokesperson Sushmita Dev alleged the PM had misplaced priorities and said that giving real solutions more than new ministers is what the railway network needed at present.

Published: 29th September 2017 08:10 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th September 2017 08:10 PM   |  A+A-

Policemen near the Elphinstone railway station's foot over bridge where a stampede took place in Mumbai on Friday. | PTI

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Congress targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Elphinstone Bridge stampede in Mumbai, saying he should apologise to the people of India's financial capital for providing absolutely no infrastructure development in the city over the past three years.

The Congress attack came after party vice-president Rahul Gandhi expressed grief over the tragedy. “Deeply pained to know about the tragic stampede at #Elphinstone station. My thoughts with the families of the victims,” Rahul tweeted.
Congress spokesperson Sushmita Dev alleged the PM had misplaced priorities and said that giving real solutions more than new ministers is what the railway network needed at present.

“While the PM is spending huge sums of money on bullet trains, he has little funds to improve basic infrastructure,” said Dev, demanding a safety audit of all foot over bridges, platforms and overhead bridges of the entire Mumbai Suburban Railway System.

Noting that commuters had complained about safety of the foot over bridges at Mumbai stations, the Congress leader pointed out that the Central Railways in 2015 had accepted that the heritage bridge linking Parel and Elphinstone Road Station was ‘structurally weak’ and had decided to direct the footfall to the other foot overbridge that connects Dadar to Parel by extending it to the eastern end of Parel as a temporary measure.

“But due to slow progress of work and criminal negligence of the railway authorities no concrete action was taken,” she said.

Slamming the government for hiking railway tariff by 70 percent over the past three years, Dev said 259 passengers have been killed, 973 injured in 29 major railway accidents since 2014.

Stating that the commuters of local trains are usually ordinary people, the Congress leader demanded a job in the railways for the kin of those killed in the Elphinstone bridge stampede and said the incident should be probed by a sitting judge.

“Around 1.42 lakh posts for safety staff remain unfilled across India, which, experts say, is a major concern and clear case of official apathy,” Dev said.

Citing a NITI Ayog report, she added that six of every 10 rail accidents in recent years have happened because of mistakes by or the negligence of railway staff.

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