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Stampede in Mumbai station kills 22

Mad scramble on a narrow foot overbridge leaves over 30 seriously injured.

Mumbai: At least 22 persons were killed and over 30 injured in a rush-hour stampede on a narrow foot overbridge (FOB) linking Elphinstone Road and Parel suburban stations during heavy rain on Friday morning, officials said.
The tragedy took place around 10.40 am (IST) when the FOB, used by lakhs of people to commute to the commercial area with high-end corporate and media offices, was heavily crowded, a police official said.
Images of people trapped on the stairs and the narrow decades-old bridge did the rounds of social media. Videos from those on the platform watching helplessly as the tragedy unfolded, with some attempting to make a perilous escape by climbing over the railing, were also circulated.
As condolences came in from President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, officials started looking into the reasons for the tragedy.
"The FOB of Elphinstone station was overcrowded and due to rain, it got slippery too. This caused panic and resulted in the stampede," said Atul Shrivastav, inspector general of the Railway Protection Force.
"Due to sudden rain, people waited at the station. When the rain stopped, there was chaos as people rushed out," added railways spokesperson Anil Saxena.
Police also suspect that a short-circuit with a loud sound near the FOB led to panic and people started running, resulting in the stampede.
Eight women and a young boy were amongst those killed, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) disaster management cell chief Mahesh Narvekar said, adding that five of the injured were critical.
Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, who reached Mumbai this morning, cancelled his programme to inaugurate 100 additional suburban services in Mumbai and announced a high-level inquiry.
"Situation in Mumbai is being continuously monitored.
@PiyushGoyal is in Mumbai taking stock of the situation & ensuring all assistance," Prime Minister Modi said in a tweet.
The kin of people, who died in a stampede at a railway foot over bridge (FOB) here on Friday morning, will get a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said.
Making an announcement here, he said the Railway Ministry, as well as the Maharashtra government, would provide an ex- gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of every deceased.
"The state government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh for the next of kin of deceased, while a similar amount has been announced by the Railway Ministry as well," Goyal said.
He said that Rs 1 lakh would be given to the grievously injured persons and Rs 50,000 to those who suffered minor injuries in the incident. He also announced a complete 'safety and capacity' audit of all the FOBs across the suburban train network.
According to the BMC's disaster control room, 22 people were brought dead to the KEM Hospital in Parel.
The injured persons were taken to various hospitals, an official said.
Officials of the railway, police and fire brigade rushed to the site to carry out rescue operation
"... it seems that during heavy rain, an unexpected crowd (of passengers) gathered on the north foot overbridge that connects Elphinstone Road and Parel stations," WR's Chief Public Relations Officer Ravinder Bhakar said.
"Have ordered a high-level enquiry headed by the Chief Safety Officer, Western Railways," the Railways minister tweeted.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is in Singapore for an investor interaction, added in a tweet that an inquiry would be conducted by the Maharashtra government and the Ministry of Railways and necessary strict action would be taken.
Disaster waiting to happen
MUMBAI: Once called 'Giran-gaon' or the city of (textile) mills, the area around Elphinstone Road and Parel stations in central Mumbai now has a skyline filled with glass-and-concrete towers, housing swanky offices.
But for thousands of office-goers who alight at these two stations after travelling by trains from distant suburbs, crossing the overbridge which links them and leads out to the glittering business district is nothing short of a battle.
Friday's tragedy was waiting to happen, said a local resident, as at least 22 people died in a stampede on the overbridge linking Parel on the Central line and Elphinstone Road on the Western line of the suburban train network.
"There is a war-like situation every day here during morning and evening hours. People fight a war to come out or enter the stations," said Arun Tiwari, regional head of a marketing company. Echoing him, Satish Paul, a daily commuter, said, the number of people who alight at the two stations has increased phenomenally.
M Post Bureau

M Post Bureau

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