Mumbai: At least 22 passengers were killed and 39 injured in a stampede at Mumbai’s Elphinstone Road railway station. The incident occurred during peak hours at 10:46 am following heavy rain. This horrific incident shook the entire nation and again showed that the human life has no value in Mumbai.
After the accident, many took to Twitter to express their condolences and also expressed their anger against the railway administration and the overall system.
Elphinstone Road station is usually crowded during peak hours as it caters to office-goers in Parel area. The station, on the Western Line of the Mumbai suburban rail network, also connects to Parel station on the Central line.
Coincidentally, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal was reaching Mumbai for his scheduled programme when the tragedy took place. Goyal was coming to Mumbai to launch new services for the Western Railway and Central Railway.
Accident Relief Medical Equipment Train was rushed to the accident spot and immediate medical assistance was provided to the victims. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) also reached the spot around 1 pm to assist in the rescue operation.
On Friday, there were heavy rains with thunder in South Central Mumbai. Many commuters from suburbs were not aware of that and they did not have umbrellas. As it was raining heavily, the commuters were waiting on the stairs of the bridge to get out of the station. As there were loud noises due to the thunder, the commuters got scared and they felt that there was a short circuit at the station.
The people waiting on the stairs thought the foot overbridge was collapsing. These rumours spread panic among all commuters and they tried to get out of the station, where they were trapped in the narrow passage and the stampede took place.
A Saxena, Director General (PR), Railways confirmed that people were waiting at the station due to heavy rain. “After the rain stopped, there was chaos to get out which resulted in the stampede,” he said. The police suspect that a short-circuit with a loud sound near the overbridge led to panic because of which people started running, resulting in the stampede.
According to an witnesses, commuters started panicking after somebody shouted the bridge was collapsing and there was a short circuit. People started pushing and those in the middle of the staircase fell. Many who tried to escape through the railing, got stuck.
Goyal cancelled all programmes which he was supposed to attend in Mumbai and rushed to KEM Hospital where the victims were admitted after the accident. Goyal expressed grief at the tragic loss of innocent lives due to the stampede. He also said that a high-level enquiry headed by the Chief Safety Officer, Western Railways, has been ordered.
CM Fadnavis said that a joint enquiry will be conducted by the Maharashtra government and the Railway Ministry and strict action will be taken for the lapses. Education Minister Vinod Tawde announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of those killed. He also said that the State government will bear medical expenses of the injured.
Shiv Sena protested at the KEM Hospital when Goyal came to meet the injured victims. MP Arvind Sawant said that the government is not listening to local public representatives. Meanwhile, opposition leaders have demanded the railway minister should resign from his post.