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Elphinstone stampede: New foot overbridge would have saved 22 lives!

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    Twenty-two people would have been alive today but for the delay in the construction of an additional foot overbridge which was already sanctioned by the Railway Ministry.

    After the stampede at Elphinstone Road station, people came to know that an additional foot overbridge had already been sanctioned for and tender was floated for the same. Rs 9.5 Crore was sanctioned by Railway Ministry for the project.

    A view of the Elphinstone railway station's foot over bridge where a stampede took place, in Mumbai on Friday. PTI Photo

    Former Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had assured a Shiv Sena MP last year that a wider bridge would be built in its place.

    In a letter dated February 20, 2016, Prabhu had written to Sena MP from Mumbai Arvind Sawant that the "construction of 12 metre wide new foot overbridge at Elphinstone Road was under the positive consideration of Railway Ministry."

    Construction of the new bridge, connecting Western Railway and Central Railway after extension of Platform No 1 and 2 towards north side by 100 metres, was under "positive consideration" of the Ministry, Prabhu had written in the letter accessed by PTI.

    Strange enough, a twitterati had warned the Railway Ministry of the tragedy waiting to happen at the Elphinstone station. It seems as if the twitter account was opened only to highlight the risk at the station.

    In the first tweet in February, a person named Bandish Satra‏ sought former Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu's ''urgent intervention to the daily overcrowded situation''.

    He requested a new railway overbridge at parel station leading towards Elphinstone exit.

    On August 30, he reminded that no action was till date. He asked that whether railway enlarge or not construct a new overbridge from Parel station to Elphinstone.

    And after the tragedy, he tweeted today saying, "At last stampede has happened. No action inspite of problem being highlighted earlier. Really sad."

    (With agency input)

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