Stampede at Elphinstone Road: One year too late for railways to fix bridge
In 2016, the railways had planned a foot-overbridge, this time a much wider one, that would connect both Elphinstone Road and Parel stations. The plan was to demolish the existing used FOB and construct this in its place. However, work on the new FOB has not progressed much. So far, the Railways is still waiting to upload the tender document for the proposed FOB.
“I checked the files regarding the new FOB and found that it received final approval on September 22 and the tender was supposed to be uploaded on Friday,” said Union Railway minister Piyush Goyal.
His predecessor Suresh Prabhu had cleared the proposal for the new FOB in February 2017. Prior to that, a number of MPs had written to him requesting him for the new FOB connecting the Elphinstone and Parel stations.
Sources in know of the project said that the Central and Western railways should have expedited this project since its inception in 2016. “Back then, there were meetings about starting this project. But all of a sudden nothing progressed as even work on Parel Terminus stalled,” said a senior railway official.
This new FOB that will be 12 meters wide instead of the present bridge that is 5 meters wide; is supposed to come 100 meters towards the Western Railway. Just like the existing one, this bridge will also connect Parel and Elphinstone Road stations.This also involves extension of platforms 1 and 2 at Elphistone Road.
Both WR and CR are supposed to share the cost and as per sources, now the work will be expedited. The major constraint is yard remodelling plan of Parel station which was freezed in February which is part of Parel Terminus.
Even the road- overbridge at Parel was supposed to be reconstructed as part of the holistic plan. This was supposed to have cable-stayed bridge similar to the Bandra-Worli Sea Link. However, this plan too has not moved further.
Now, the minister has stated that he has asked the railways to inspect all stations and bring forth vulnerable issues. After this audit, necessary steps will be taken and safety concerns will also be addressed.
The rail network in Mumbai is in dire need for an overhaul. Its infrastructure is crumbling while the number of people using them is increasing by the day.
Instead of making tall announcements about Bullet Train, the govt should rather stick to the basics and strive to make travel better for its 75 lakh daily commuters.
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