Prabhadevi Railway Station Stampede: Railways Sat on Warnings Tweeted by Worried Mumbaikars
The Mumbai Suburban Rail disaster forced Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, who was in Mumbai on a scheduled visit, to cancel his program and order a high-level inquiry.
Rescue team assist the stampede victim in Mumbai. (Photo: Reuters)
New Delhi: A stampede claimed the lives of at least 22 people and injured at least 30 at a footover bridge between Mumbai's Elphinstone Road Railway Station and Parel Station on Friday morning.
The Mumbai Suburban Rail disaster forced Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, who was in Mumbai on a scheduled visit, to cancel his program and order a high-level inquiry.
But since the incident, two social media posts have emerged that indicate that the ministry may have known about the footover bridge being in a bad shape.
Mumbai resident Chandan KK had tweeted to then Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in July 2016. He tweeted, "@sureshpprabhu @narendramodi Is central mumbai station 'Parel' awaiting a stampede?"
Speaking to News18, Chandan said, "I travel on the Mumbai local train every day. I go to Elphinstone Road station twice a day every day, while coming from and going to work. The situation has been bad since 2009. It has always been overcrowded."
"In 2010, I even wrote to the Parel Station master, asking him to look into this footover bridge and take some action. It seemed like a disaster waiting to happen, but I received no response. On July 28, 2016, I tweeted to then railway minister Suresh Prabhu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Once again, I received no response. On the morning of the accident, I reached just 10-15 minutes after the stampede had taken place. The scenes I witnessed were chaotic."
Chandan even replied to Prime Minister Modi's condolence tweet.
Ur condolences are of no use.Reconstruct Parel and Elphinstone stations. It's a most dangerous point in Mumbai suburban network.Take action— Chandan KK (@CKSquare) September 29, 2017
This was not the only social media post flagging the problem.
Santosh Andhale, another Mumbai resident, had warned of an accident just three days ago in a Facebook post. He had posted pictures of a packed foot overbridge and wrote, "#CentralRailway Pls do something ... Parel bridge connected to Elephinston road station. #MumbaiLife #EveryDayChaos #MinistryofRailways."
After the stampede, he wrote, "My fear turned true .... Three days ago I put on FB and Twitter ... It's very sad day."
When asked about these posts, Indian Railways spokesperson Anil Saxena said, “I am not aware of the social media posts in question. We are doing a cause analysis of this stampede and will come out with the facts as soon as possible. Railway Minister has already instituted a high-level inquiry into this incident."
Piyush Goyal was in Mumbai on Friday and was scheduled to take a trip in the local train network from Vile Parle station to Churchgate. The incident took place when the Railway Minister was airborne on his way to Mumbai. Upon landing, he went to KEM hospital to meet the injured.
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