Mumbai Elphinstone station stampede: Railways ignored warning that its foot-over-bridges are narrow

The CAG audit of suburban train services has said that railway has reduced the width of the foot-over-bridges at many stations, posing threat to passengers’ safety.

Published: 29th September 2017 09:24 PM  |   Last Updated: 30th September 2017 06:10 PM   |  A+A-

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

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Mumbai stampede that killed 22 commuters on Friday morning gives the lie to the safety of railway infrastructure. As far back as 2006, a CAG report audited suburban train services and found that the Indian Railways had reduced the width of the foot-over-bridges at many stations. That report clearly flagged the need for foot-over-bridges with a 6 m width at all suburban railway platforms.

IN PICS | Mumbai is not the first: Deadly stampedes that India witnessed in the last decade

The bridge connecting Elphinstone Road and Parel Stations stations in Mumbai, where the stampede took place, was a mere 4.8 m wide. A new bridge was sanctioned at this very spot in the 2017-18 has budge. “One foot-over-bridge (FOB) of 6 m width was required to be provided at all suburban stations. It was observed that FOBs of the prescribed size had not been provided at five stations audited by CAG,” said the 206 report. It further noted that FOBs are an important passenger amenity, especialy from a passenger safety point of view.

The national auditor highlighted that Indian Railways in its Citizen’s Charter committed itself to provide safe and dependable train services to passengers. The auditor also pointed out that a report submitted to the Minister of Railways had stated that out of the 15000 deaths that occur every year in the railway system, about 6000 happen in the Mumbai suburban system, most of them due to trespassing.

The report further stated that trespassing takes place mainly on account of lack of barricading, fencing, inadequate number of pedestrian overbridges and reluctance to replace pedestrian level crossings with foot-over-bridges (FOBs). On Friday, however, the railways took the plea that the stampede was not the result of any infrastructure on its part. “There was no structural damage to the FOB which can be attributed to the stampede. The FOB is 4.8 m wide and 32 m long with dual exits -- north and south,” said a statement issued by the railways.

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp