On Friday, at least 22 people died and a 39 others were grievously injured after a stampede occurred at Mumbai's Elphinstone Road railway station.
And while railway minister Piyush Goyal promised to widen foot-over bridges across Mumbai's suburban railway system in the wake of the disaster, the demand for such a move was previously made in a 2015 report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), which specifically highlighted the structural default in the Elphinstone Road station bridge.
What's more, several commuters have also highlighted the problems at the foot-over bridge, saying a bottleneck-like situation takes place on a daily basis and it causes inconveniences and unnecessary delays.
— Aparajita (@aparajita_k) September 28, 2017
— Bharat Mehrotra (@bmehrotra) November 4, 2016
Several commuters had already brought this to the notice of railway authorities, months before Friday's incident. The problem, they say, is there is only one foot-over-bridge connecting Elphinstone Road on the Western Railway with Parel on the Central Railway. Furthermore, the width of the bridge is incredibly narrow at certain places, which creates a bottleneck situation, particularly during peak hours.
.@RailMinIndia @WesternRly this is parel / elphinston bridge. We heard People died due to stampede ? Good returns of my tax! @narendramodi pic.twitter.com/Yj0tySttCo — Chirag Joshi (@chiragmjoshi) September 29, 2017
Friday's tragedy, say frequent commuters who use the Elphinstone Road or Parel stations for their commute, was hence inevitable.
Pre-rush hour Parel station. The only staircase which people use to exit and enter the station. A major accident is waiting to happen. pic.twitter.com/FWMrTboh4a
— MANJUL (@MANJULtoons) February 1, 2017
#Elphinstone stampede hasnt shocked commuters. They'd bin complaining about the bridge for many days now. Railway authorities any answers?
— Roshni Olivera (@RoshniOlivera) September 29, 2017
The deepest irony of the situation was that Friday was the day Elphinstone Road was meant to be renamed as Prabhadevi. As pointed out by Twitterati, much funds and effort was expended on renaming the stations, funds which could have clearly been better utilised on improving outdated infrastructure.
Wonder how much time & money they spent on renaming Elphinstone Road to Prabhadevi... Instead of fixing the station infrastructure. — Ashwin Mushran (@ashwinmushran) September 29, 2017
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Updated Date: Sep 29, 2017 16:49:47 IST