Two months after Elphinstone Road stampede; the death anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar and cyclone Ockhi is testing the lessons learnt by the Indian Railways post the tragedy. Though the dangers of cyclone Ockhi causing any damage to city’s infrastructure or lives seem to have ceased, handling lakhs of followers of Dr Ambedkar is surely a huge task at hand for the Indian Railways.Wednesday is the 61st death anniversary of Dr Ambedkar — social reformist, economist and jurist — for which lakhs of people come to Shivaji Park to pay homage. These people are coming in large numbers from various parts of the state and neighbouring states too for whom, long distance and suburban local trains are the best mode of transportation.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Rain spoils Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar followers visit”Ever since the stampede occurred, we have also decided to include crowd management to be vital for commuter’s safety. This is the reason foot overbridges have now become a matter of safety than a passenger amenity and so more FOBs have been planned,” said a senior railway official.Since the past two days, the presence of RPF staff at prominent stations like Dadar, Malad, Borivali, Kurla LTT, Churchgate, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus has increased. The Maharashtra Security Force too is helping with 250 personnel coming in for assisting the railway police.Also readPrime Minister Narendra Modi pays tributes to BR AmbedkarThe followers are seen sitting, sleeping or staying back on station premises along with their luggage. They are also blocking the pathway to staircases of FOBs. So continuous announcements are being made urging people not to wait at the station premises and move towards Shivaji Park. The BEST Undertaking is running shuttle services from various stations to Shivaji Park as well. Posters and banners indicating directions to the followers are also seen. The ticket checkers are barely seen while trains are halting for more time at selective stations to assist people. No doubt, a lot has improved in terms of managing over crowded stations since the tragedy at Elphinstone Road struck. But sadly it took 23 people to lose their lives for the railways to take crowd management seriously.
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Indian Railways ups crowd management game as Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar’s followers flock to city