WR panel interviews 30 eye-witnesses, blames heavy rains for Elphinstone stampede

12 October, 2017, 00:06 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Mumbai stampede High-level Railway committee gives clean chit to Railway officials

The 40-foot-wide overbridge was announced in the 2016 railway budget by then railway minister Suresh Prabhu and was part of the Rs 45 crore fund allocated for escalators, foot overbridges and automatic ticket vending machines for the Mumbai suburban network.

Also, the inquiry has said that none of the witness supported the claim of short circuit on the bridge that led to the chaos.

The report has recommended that during peak hours passengers should not be allowed to carry heavy luggage at the local train stations.

A five-member committee constituted to inquire into incident in its report found that heavy rains and large number of people on the railway bridge was the main cause of September 29 stampede.

The latest is report is the outcome of the high level inquiry that was initiated immediately after the incident.

The probe report said a vendor dropped a bunch of flowers and a cry of "Majha phool padla" (my flower fell) led to the spread of rumours of "pool padla" (bridge fell), which "possibly triggered panic and led to the stampede". This would also help prevent jams caused by people with heavy luggage during peak hours.

"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.

It is brought out that the issue of Notice Inviting Tender (NIT) for Elphinstone Road FOB took about 18 months.

The committee has instead blamed the stampede, in which 23 people died, on rains and rumours.

The tender was incidentally floated on September 29, the day 23 people were killed in the stampede on the existing decades-old foot overbridge.

The members of the panel include Vinayak Chatterjee, Chairman CII Economic Affairs council, Subodh Jain, former Member Engineering-rail board and director safety-rail board Pankaj Kumar.

Summary: The report was submitted to the General Manager Western Railway for further action.

Goyal, while speaking at an event in Delhi, said that he was pained that despite the new foot overbridge being already approved, the tender was not floated on time.

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