MUMBAI: The Western Railway has claimed that the kin of 22 people killed in a stampede here received ex-gratia payment within 24 hours and that its officers travelled to different parts of the country to disburse the money.
A statement issued by the Western Railway said Rs 1.34 crore have been disbursed to the injured and the deceased.
"We have disbursed cheques of Rs 4.85 lakh to the kin of 22 deceased. One dead passenger is yet to be identified," said Mukul Jain, DRM of Mumbai division of WR. He said Rs 15,000 were disbursed on the day of accident itself. The deceased had received the cheques by Saturday.
"We had opened a special counter at the KEM hospital to disburse cash to the kin of the deceased for transportation/rituals of the deceased," Jain said, adding as per the rules when such an emergency-like situation arises, the railways gives a part of the money in cash to meet contingency expenses.
He said after the railway minister announced the amount of ex-gratia, a decision was taken to disburse the remaining amount through cheque and railway staffers handed it over to the kin of the deceased by on their doorstep.
"Our railway staffers reached the doors of kin of the deceased in not only in Pune, Sangli but Allahabad also to hand over the cheques," Jain said.
Cheques have also disbursed to 30 passengers who received minor and grievous injuries into the mishap, the statement said.
Twenty-three passengers were killed and 36 injured in a deadly rush-hour stampede that occurred on a narrow foot overbridge connecting the Elphinstone Road railway station to Parel station on September 29.
Shivaraj Pasalkar, the brother of Priyanka Pasalkar (23) who was killed in the stampede, confirmed receiving the cheque.
Speaking to PTI over phone from Pune, Shivaraj said, "Of course, the railways displayed promptness in disbursing the money, but money can never compensate the loss of valuable lives."
He said had the railway administration been so quick to take measures about the bridge earlier, then this situation would not have arisen.
Jain said apart from Rs five lakh compensation on behalf of the railways, the kin were also eligible to be paid Rs 8 lakh each from Railway Claims Tribunal (RCT).
BJP MP from North Mumbai Kirit Somaiya, who has been taken up the issue of compensation with the tribunal, said,
"The registrar of the tribunal has told me that a special Bench of Mumbai Railway Claim Tribunal is being formed to hear the matter of Elphinstone Bridge stampede and the claim for the compensation will be attended to in one month."