Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Elphinstone stampede: Railways probe blames heavy rain, panic

Elphinstone stampede: Railways probe blames heavy rain, panic

An official inquiry into the Elphinstone bridge tragedy of September 29, in which 23 people lost their lives in a stampede, has blamed heavy rainfall for the incident.

Referring to the report, a railway official said the "cause of the mishap was heavy rain which forced people outside at the ticket windows to rush towards the staircase even as it was already jampacked".

Addressing tyhe reporters Western Railways CPRO Ravinder Bhaskar said that "it has come in the inquiry that incident happened due to rumors of bridge collapse".

The probe report said that the foot overbridge got overcrowded as people tried to save themselves from getting drenched in heavy rains.

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The probe report said a vendor dropped a bunch of flowers and a cry of "Majha phool padla" (my flower fell) led to the spread of rumours of "pool padla" (bridge fell), which "possibly triggered panic and led to the stampede". The report said people with heavy luggage lost their balance because of which the stampede may have occurred. The movement of commuters, mainly vendors, carrying baskets stuffed with goods during peak hours should also be restricted, it said.

Other recommendations include relocation of elevated booking to widen the staircase.

23 persons died in Elphinstone Road-Parel bridge stampede.

The Railways has announced a high-level committee to inquire into the 18-month delay in issuance of Notice Inviting Tender for the Elphinstone Road overbridge, and recommend measures to ensure that such delays are minimised in the future.

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The statements of as many as 30 injured passengers, local residents and the GRP and RPF personnel were recorded to reach the conclusion, Bhakar said.

This committee would be headed by Shri Pratyush Sinha (Retd Chief Vigilance Commissioner) with Shri Vinayak Chatterjee, Chairman CII Economic Affairs council, and Shri Subodh Jain, (Retd Member Engineering, Railway Board) as Members and current Director Safety, Rly Board, Shri Pankaj Kumar as Member Secretary. The panel is expected to submit the report within three months.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has said that he was "pained" that the tender for the new bridge was not floated on time despite being approved.

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