Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Railway probe blames heavy rains, crowd for Elphinstone bridge stampede

Railway probe blames heavy rains, crowd for Elphinstone bridge stampede

Last month, 23 people were killed in a stampede on a foot overbridge at Mumbai's Elphinstone Road railway station.

The committee, as reported by TOI, said that to protect themselves from the heavy rains passengers standing at the ticket counter at Elphinstone Road station rushed to the foot over bridge that was already overcrowded. He said the panel has also come up with few recommendations for the protection and safety of passengers. "The people with heavy luggage lost balance because of which the stampede might have occurred".

The probe also said none of the witnesses supported the claim of a short circuit on the bridge leading to the chaos. This would also help prevent jams caused by people with heavy luggage during peak hours. An additional staircase can also be provided, the panel has said.

It has suggested that officials use a quick mode of communication apart from mobile phones to ensure timely reaction.

The report said that tragedy may have triggered by panic after some commuters mistook it as "Pul Padla" (bridge has fallen).

The statements of as many as 30 injured passengers, local residents and the GRP and RPF personnel were recorded to reach the conclusion, Bhakar said.

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As the transporter was slammed for laxity and delays in construction of new FoB at Elphinstone station after the tragedy, Railway Board made a decision to constitute an expert committee, headed by former Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) Pratyush Sinha, 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. Vinayak Chatterjee of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) will be its member.

"The committee concluded that the tragedy occurred due to a downpour and accumulation of commuters on the overbridge and the staircase around 10 a.m. on the fateful day", the CSO observed in his report.

The 40-foot-wide overbridge was announced in the 2016 Railway Budget.

Former Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu had approved the proposal for a new bridge in April 2015.

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