Published: Wed, October 11, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Railways Give Clean Chit to Authorities, Say Rain, Overcrowding Caused Elphinstone Stampede

The inquiry panel also recommended a slew of measures to avert such incidents in the future.

Mumbai: An enquiry committee constituted by the Indian Railways to look into the causes of Elphinstone Road station stampede on September 29 has said that heavy rains and rumours caused the stampede.

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 elevated booking office is adjacent to the staircase where the stampede occurred.

The constant flow of passengers arriving at the station only compounded the problem, and added to the panic and confusion.

The report also lists a few pertinent suggestions like relocating the booking counter, regulation of vendors' entry during rush hours, additional CCTV cameras for monitoring, and hotline facility at stations.

The two-member committee would inquire why it had taken 18 months after the project was cleared to issue the tender, railway spokesperson Anil Saxena told PTI.

It has suggested that officials use a quick mode of communication apart from mobile phones to ensure timely reaction and recommended providing wireless handsets to station and security staff. The petitioners said that the police is required to "investigate the crime" keeping in view the possibility of soft terror attack by terrorists.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Bombay High Court also pulled up "so-called activists" for approaching it on the issue of safety of commuters only after the Elphinstone Road station stampede. "The rain started around 10.09 am and subsequently the passengers started gathering at the station as well as the staircases of the bridge", he said.

23 persons died in Elphinstone Road-Parel bridge stampede.

The tender was incidentally floated on September 29 - the day 23 people were killed in the stampede on the existing decades-old foot overbridge.

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