Elphinstone stampede: Probe panel gives clean chit to staff, blames rain
A five-member inquiry panel formed to probe the Elphinstone Road tragedy has given a clean chit to the railway station staff.
After recording statements of about 30 survivors, the panel in its report, has stated the cause of mishap was heavy rains which forced people outside the station to rush to the staircase even as it was jammed by those already present.
The report was compiled by five senior officials of the Western Railway including the chief safety officer.
The panel recommended shifting of the elevated booking office at the station, besides restricting the movement of commuters, mainly vendors, carrying baskets stuffed with goods during peak hours.
The elevated booking office is adjacent to the staircase where the stampede occurred. The width of the staircase is 2.1 m.
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.
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 stampede was caused by heavy rains which forced people outside at the ticket counters to rush to the already jammed staircase for cover." The constant flow of passengers arriving at the station compounded the problem, he added.
Earlier, Dadar Police had also reached the same conclusion in its investigations and had given a clean chit to the railway staff, booking clerk, RPF and GRP personnel on duty at the stations at the time.