A day after a stampede on a foot over bridge at the Elphinstone Road suburban railway station in Mumbai led to the loss of 23 lives, railway minister Piyush Goyal said that foot over bridges, earlier considered only a "passenger amenity", would now be a "mandatory" aspect of all the railway stations in the country.
The announcement came after marathon meetings held by the minister with senior railway board officials since Friday. "We are turning a 150-year-old convention on its head, hereafter, foot over bridges will be deemed mandatory not a passenger amenity (sic)," Goyal had tweeted earlier. Earlier, only the first foot over bridge at a station was considered "essential" and the subsequent ones "passenger amenity".
In a statement released after a high-level meeting on Saturday, the railways also said in order to enhance its monitoring mechanism, CCTV cameras would be installed in all the suburban trains in Mumbai within 15 months and subsequently, across the country.
The meeting was held in Churchgate, which is where the headquarters of the Western Railway is situated.
The meeting was held to ensure improvement in the standards of safety for thousands of commuters. Among those present included the railway minister, chairman of the Railway Board, Ashwani Lohani, and all railway board members were also present along with security officials from the state government. General Managers of Western and Central Railway AK Gupta and DK Sharma, respectively, also attended the meeting.
According to the Western Railway press release, stations with a high footfall will get additional escalators, the details of which are to be finalised in the next two weeks. "Similar exercise will be carried out for all high use stations all over India," it added.
Furthermore, "Two hundred officers are to be relocated from Railway headquarters to the field in order to strengthen ground operations and project implementation."
During the meeting, it was discussed that the general managers of different railway zones will get additional powers for next 18 months without limit for safety-related issues. "They shall intimate the financial commissioner (FC) within a week of sanction for provision, and the FC shall confirm the same within 15 days. In case of disagreement, the matter shall be put up to the Railway Board for final decision within the same 15 days," the press release added.
Attempts to reduce red-tapism was also discussed in the meeting: "Delegation of financial and administrative powers to field units by October 2017 to reduce red tape and push development and delivery."
During the meeting, it was also stressed that "brilliant and enthusiastic station directors are being posted at 75 stations all over India to bring dynamism in operations".
Updated Date: Oct 01, 2017 08:35 AM