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Rs 12 Crore Sanctioned, Rs 1,000 Allotted. Railways' Cruel Joke on Elphinstone Bridge

In what further indicts Western Railways’ negligence over the tragedy, documents accessed by CNN-News18 show officials allotted only Rs 1,000 to renovate the bridge out of Rs 12 crore that had been sanctioned by then railway minister Suresh Prabhu.

Sanket Upadhyay | CNN-News18

Updated:September 30, 2017, 6:27 PM IST
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Mumbai: Hours after the deaths of 22 people in a stampede at the Elphinstone Road station, it became clear that the Railways ignored a CAG report, warnings tweeted by concerned Mumbaikars, and alarm calls raised by Rajya Sabha MP Sachin Tendulkar and Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant.

In what further indicts Western Railways’ negligence over the tragedy, documents accessed by CNN-News18 show officials allotted only Rs 1,000 to renovate the bridge out of nearly Rs 12 crore that had been sanctioned by then railway minister Suresh Prabhu.

The pink book of the Western Railways is an official document which lists the amount sanctioned and the allocation made for respective projects.

Point number 673 in the pink book pertains to the footover bridge at Elphinstone Road station which was to be formally named Prabhadevi railway station on Friday, the day tragedy struck.

The amount allotted to the bridge in 2016-2017 is mentioned as Rs 1,000, while the total sanctioned cost was Rs 12 crore. The allotment for the current fiscal was raised to Rs 35 lakh.

A source in the Railway Minister said the amount is “representational”. “Once work on a project begins, money is allocated. This amount is just representational as the detailed estimates had not been approved so far. Tender is due to be issued on November 9.”

railways1

The Western Railways pink book accessed by CNN-News18.

But railway experts who have served with the government disputed this claim.

“It’s a chicken and egg story. No work begins without funds being allocated. This includes even the pre-tendering work like planning, approval of drawings, finalisation of estimates, tender documents, invitation of tender and award of works,” says Sanjeev Shivesh who has worked extensively on fast train projects.

The stampede killed 22 people and injured 40 on Friday when commuters sought refuge from heavy rains at the footover bridge.

Sources said the stampede might have been triggered when one person slipped on the wet floor.

Police are now examining CCTV footage and video clips shot by onlookers to find out what exactly led to the deadly stampede.

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| Edited by: Mirza Arif Beg
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