In the aftermath of the stampede and deaths at Elphinstone Road station, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Saturday announced 10 new foot overbridges (FOBs) for Western Railway and 20 new FOBs on the Central Railway. Additionally, 13 existing FOBs on the WR route will be widened. The projects are expected to be ready within one year. Goyal also sanctioned 61 escalators for CR stations and 31 for WR. The decision came after an urgent marathon meeting with the railway board in the city. BMC chief Ajoy Mehta, MMRDA chief UPS Madan and Police Commissioner Dattatray Padsalgikar were also at the meeting.
According to eyewitnesses, the stampede primarily occurred because the bridge wasn't able to accommodate the incoming crowd on Friday, forcing Goyal to take prompt action to address the issue. Apart from this, Goyal also said that railway bridges would now be categorised as a mandatory feature, and will be expected to have all safety norms in place. "We are turning a 150-year-old convention on its head. Hereafter, FOBs will be deemed mandatory and not a passenger amenity," Goyal said, adding, "To eliminate bureaucracy and delays, I have empowered general managers to spend whatever is necessary on safety."
Goyal has also decided to relocate 200 officers from the Western Railway headquarters in Churchgate as field staff to strengthen ground operations in Mumbai.
No protocol please
Railway board chairman Ashwani Lohani, who arrived earlier this morning from New Delhi, came down heavily on officials, who welcomed him at the airport. He said that unnecessary protocols should be scrapped and sought a list of officials, who received him.
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