Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Mumbai stampede: High-level Railway committee gives clean chit to Railway officials


The Railways Ministry on Wednesday absolved itself of all responsibility in the Elphinstone Road Station bridge collapse in Mumbai that killed 23 people last month, blaming the weather gods instead for tragedy. Over 50 people were injured out of which some are still recovering.

Railway Board has chose to constitute a high level expert committee to inquire into the reasons for delay in the whole process and suggest ways and means to ensure that such delays can be minimised in future. Ravinder informed that the foot-over bridge was already filled to capacity, but was later overcrowded by passengers trying to save themselves from heavy downpour, resulting in a stampede.

The CCTV footage from 9 am to 11 am was also examined and the panel probed each movement very minutely, he said.

The constant flow of passengers arriving at the station only compounded the problem, and added to the panic and confusion.

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"Many people stranded on the bridge were unable to move due to heavy rain, even as other commuters were stepping out of trains and trying to climb the bridge", Bhakar said.

The probe also said none of the witnesses supported the claim of a short circuit on the bridge leading to the chaos.

WR Chief Safety Officer (CSO), who conducted the inquiry into the stampede at a foot overbridge connecting Parel and Elphinstone Road stations, submitted the report to General Manager Anil Kumar.

Apart from widening, an additional staircase could also be provided, the official said. This would also help prevent jams caused by people with heavy luggage during peak hours.

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The Railways has announced a high-level committee to inquire into the 18-month delay in issuance of Notice Inviting Tender for the Elphinstone Road overbridge, and recommend measures to ensure that such delays are minimised in the future.

"The committee has been given three months to submit its report", Saxena said.

The panel will be headed by former Central Vigilance Commissioner Pratyush Sinha and Vinayak Chatterjee of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) will be its member.

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