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Western Railway to deploy 232 MSSC staff for women’s safety

In the backdrop of the Elphinstone stampede killing 23 commuters and injuring to nearly 40, the Western Railways (WR) on Thursday said that it will deploy 232 Maharashtra State Security Corporation (MSSC) personnel and 97 female home guards for strengthening security and managing crowds of suburban commuters especially women commuters.This will be in addition to the existing manpower of the Railway Protection Force (RPF). A K Gupta, General Manager, Western Railway (WR), said, “Security in trains and on platforms has always been the requirement. We hope that deployment of the additional security staff will help the RPF to monitor security more efficiently.”Gupta added, “Prior to this, we installed CCTV cameras. We also have a dedicated application and a 24-hour helpline for the safety of commuters, especially women commuters. With the additional security arrangements, we are going to increase our security by nearly 33 per cent.The additional security force was given a two-day induction by the RPF before their deployment. The additional security force will also control and monitor crowds during morning and evening peak hours, apart from guarding isolated spots on the western line.The WR said that it has identified around 37 vulnerable stations. The stations where additional security force will be deployed include Churchgate, Grant Road, Charni Road, Mumbai Central, Elphinstone Road, Dadar, Mahim, Bandra, Khar Road, Santacruz, Jogeshwari, Andheri, Goregaon, Malad, Borivali, Bhayandar, Nalasopara and Virar.SAFE COMMUTE PLANThe additional security force was given a two-day induction by the RPF before their deployment. The WR has identified 37 vulnerable stations. Some of them incude Churchgate, Grant Road, Charni Road, Mumbai Central, Elphinstone Road, Dadar, Mahim, Bandra, Khar Road.

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‘Hawkers not allowed here’: RPF fines Dabbawalas

Dabbawalas have written to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal seeking resolution of the issues they face at suburban stations after the Railway Protection Force (RPF) on Monday fined some of them for parking their bicycles outside Grant Road station, stating that “hawkers” were not allowed outside station premises.After a stampede on Elphinstone Road foot overbridge killed 22 people on September 29, the authorities have been driving hawkers out of railway station premises across the city.According to the Mumbai Dabbawala Association, they have been treated as hawkers by the RPF at various stations, such as Kandivali, Borivali and Bhayandar, for the past few months.On Monday, the RPF confiscated eight cycles belonging to dabbawalas that were parked outside Grant Road station and asked them to cough up a fine.Subhash Talekar, spokesperson for Mumbai Dabbawala Association, said, “We have shot off a letter to the railway minister regarding the issue. Cycle is an important means of transport for us. We should not be called hawkers just because we have to park our cycles near railway stations. We keep our cycles there just for some minutes while exchanging tiffin boxes. The authorities should keep this in mind before slapping a fine on us and terming us hawkers. We request the officials to exempt us from these charges.”Earlier, three cycles from Borivali and four from Bhayandar railway station were confiscated; they belonged to dabbawalas. Talekar said this happened a few weeks ago and they had to pay a fine “but on Tuesday the court said we should be let go without being charged a fine.”

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Army begins preliminary work for Elphinstone Road station FOB

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Western Railway (WR) on Thursday said that the Indian Army has started preliminary works for the construction of a foot overbridge (FOB) at Elphinstone Road railway station connecting Parel. Jawans have started works like earmarking and soil testing.According to WR, the actual construction work will start only after getting a nod from the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS). “We are still awaiting CRS clearance, and it is only after that the Army will start the actual work,” said Ravindar Bhakar, Chief Public Relation Officer, WR.”What we see today is just the preliminary works like soil testing and other activities that are to be conducted before starting the actual work,” he added.On September 29, at least 23 people were killed and over 30 others injured following a stampede on a foot overbridge (FOB) linking Elphinstone Road and Parel railway stations.After the accident, the parliamentary panel had summoned top railway officials, and the WR conducted a detailed audit of all the stations in the Mumbai suburban section. The audit detected loopholes in the system and development works at each and every station was proposed.However, in the last week of October, the Indian Army was roped in to build a foot overbridge at the Elphinstone Road station. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis along with Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman visited the station and Fadnavis announced that the new FOB would be completed by January 31 next year.THE STORY SO FAROn September 29, at least 23 people were killed and over 30 others injured following a stampede on an FOB at Elphinstone Road In October, the Indian Army was roped in to build a foot overbridge

In Dec, Harbour line to extend till Goregaon

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In good news for commuters on the Harbour line, starting December, services will extend till Goregaon. The Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) has acquired the much-needed rail tracks and ballasts earlier this month to be placed on the pending stretches between Andheri and Goregaon stations.In the last one week, officials and workers of the MRVC were seen at different stretches between Andheri and Ram Mandir stations where tracks were missing even though the alignment was made ready.Senior officials said that the process of dropping off the materials was to happen earlier but was delayed because of the Elphinstone Road stampede. The metals were then transferred for safety-related works rather than installation of new rail lines.”There was a shortfall of tracks for some time but we managed to convince the Railway Board to sanction it for this route as tracks were needed only for a small stretch,” said an MRVC official.Moreover, the MRVC acquired sand and ballasts, for the Rs 103 crore project, from Sabarmati river earlier last week. The two rail lines, whose height is slightly above the slow lines running next to it, are ready for trains to ply on them.This line will now allow trains from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), which currently terminates at Andheri, to go till Goregaon.For this project, new platforms for Jogeshwari have been created and are almost half a kilometre away from the existing station.

Mumbai Central station skywalk awaits Western Railway nod

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the need for better crowd management at and around railway stations has been in focus since the stampede at Elphinstone Road railway station that saw 23 persons die, a skywalk proposed outside Mumbai Central railway station is languishing on paper as a No Objection Certificate is awaited for the project from Western Railway.BMC’s D ward in 2016 had proposed a skywalk from Sane Guruji Marg directly connecting the two railway foot-overbridges (FOB) of Mumbai Central railway station. Around 90m long, the skywalk would have save commuters the trouble of crossing the road, giving them direct access to the railway platform. However, citing feasibility issues, the Western Railway (WR) has not sanctioned the No Objection Certificate.Assistant Municipal Commissioner of D-Ward, Vishwas Mote said, “In the past six months, there has been written communication with the Railways, but due to feasibility issues cited by them, the project didn’t take off. The skywalk will help in crowd management outside Mumbai Central railway station. The skywalk was proposed under a comprehensive traffic management project outside the station”.Another civic officer added, “The Western Railway asked for a ticket counter and public toilet on the skywalk which was not part of our project. The proposal has not been scrapped, but has been halted. The skywalk will help reduce traffic snarls outside Mumbai Central railway station. Now all commuters’ cross the road at Sane Guruji Marg, which obstructs road traffic. The skywalk will allow commuters to directly join the railway FOB and allow smooth flow of vehicular traffic outside the station”.Commenting on the skywalk proposal, WR spokesperson Ravindra Bhakar said, “I am not aware of this proposal. I will have to check with the concerned department what the reasons are if the proposal is not given the nob by the WR”.According to BMC’s presentation, which DNA has been able to access, Mumbai Central railway station has around 7,500 pedestrians from 7 to 10 am, while it has 10,500 pedestrians from 5.30 to 9pm.BMC already has the provision of Rs 50 lakh in its 2014-15 budget set aside for the proposed skywalk.NEWS IN NUMBERSAccording to BMC’s presentation, which DNA has been able to access, Mumbai Central railway station has around 7,500 pedestrians from 7 to 10 am, while it has 10,500 pedestrians from 5.30 to 9pm. BMC already has the provision of Rs 50 lakh in its 2014-15 budget set aside for the proposed skywalk.

Mumbai: Slab collapses at Andheri station; injures woman

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A lady suffered a head injury after a slab collapsed at Andheri station on Saturday night. According to sources, the woman was standing next to the queue to buy railway ticket from the booking counter.S Mule (56) was standing at the concourse while her son was standing in the queue to buy a ticket at the ticket counter on the east side of Andheri station. This is when a slab from the ceiling fell on her head and she collapsed.”It was around 9.15pm when this incident occurred,” said a relative . She was then taken to Cooper Hospital as she had suffered 20 stitches. Later she was discharged from the hospital. Mumbai’s suburban network has seen a spate of accidents. Two months ago, a stampede at Elphinstone Road railway station killed over 23 people, while a few days later a few people were injured after a portion of the pedestrian bridge collapsed at Charni Road station.

Bridge security: Parl panel to summon Railways’ top officials

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indicating its seriousness towards the issue of railway bridge safety, a parliamentary panel has asked top railway officials to appear before it. This is the second time the railway officials have been summoned in the past fortnight.The parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways, headed by Trinamool Congress MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay, has called the representatives of the Ministry of Railways to hear them on issues ranging from safety measures in railway operations to maintenance of bridges of foot over bridges that fall under the purview of the Railways.The committee, which first met on October 12, took up the issue as the matter of railway bridge security raised concerns in wake of the incident in Mumbai where 23 people were killed in a stampede at Elphinstone Road railway station. A few days later, a portion of a foot over bridge at Charni Road station in the city left two people injured.The panel first took up the issue on November 6 in which top officials of railway board were grilled about the security measures being taken by the department about railway bridges and their current status across the country.As a number of queries raised by members could not be answered on sport, the panel has again summoned the railway officials before it on November 20.Top Railway Board officials will brief the panel about both the issues—the safety measures undertaken by the department with regard to railway operations and also the maintenance of railway bridges.The parliamentary panel had in its earlier meeting also expressed its concern over the spate of train derailment incidents in the past few months.

Parliamentary Panel summons railway officials within a fortnight; grills them on safety

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indicating its seriousness towards the issue of railway bridge safety, a Parliamentary panel has called top railway officials before it. Interestingly, this is the second time the railway officials have been summoned in the past fortnight. A parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways headed by Trinamool Congress MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay has called the representatives of the Ministry of Railways to hear them on issues ranging from safety measures in railway Operations to maintenance of bridges of foot over bridges that fall under the purview of the Indian Railways.The committee, which first met on October 12, took up the issue as the matter of railway bridge security raised concerns in wake of the incident in Mumbai where 23 people were killed in a stampede at Elphinstone Road railway station. A few days later, a portion of a foot over bridge at Charni Road station in the city left two people injured.The panel first took up the issue on November 6 in which top officials of railway board were grilled about the security measures being taken by the department about railway bridges and their current status across the country.As a number of queries raised by members could not be answered on sport, the panel has again summoned the railway officials before it on November 20. Top Railway Board officials will brief the panel about both the issues—the safety measures undertaken by the department with regard to railway operations and also the maintenance of bridges in Indian railways.The Parliamentary panel had in its earlier meeting also expressed its concern over the spate of train derailment incidents in the past few months. After a series of train derailment incidents, the then Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had also made an offer to resign and was subsequently shifted out of Railway Ministry in a Cabinet reshuffle in September. According to an analysis, the death toll from train derailments was the highest in 2016-17.

MU allows Elphinstone stampede victim to write exam from home

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a special arrangement of sorts, the University of Mumbai allowed a 19-year-old BCom student to write his exam from his home on Friday morning. Akash Parab, a victim of the Elphinstone stampede tragedy, was allowed to write his first paper from his Vikhroli home.On September 29, Akash and his brother Rohit had gone to the flower market in Parel to pick up flowers which could be sold at the family-owned shop in Bhandup. The duo was then caught in the stampede and while Akash suffered a few injuries, his brother, Rohit, lost his life. Keeping behind the huge tragedy, Akash appeared for his first paper — Financial Accounting — less than two months after the incident.A student of Bhandup’s Ramanand DAV College, Akash was given one additional hour to write his paper by the university. “The university has allowed Akash to appear for all his papers from his residence. A team of officials from the university and a nearby college visited his house on Friday with the question paper and answer sheet. He was given additional time and was provided all the necessary support,” said Leeladhar Bansod, spokesperson, University of Mumbai.Elated that he could give his exam, Akash said that he is now looking forward to writing all his papers well. “A huge tragedy struck us as we lost my brother and I had injuries all over. I thought that I would have to miss my exam as the doctor has not allowed me to walk,” said Akash while speaking to DNA.

Stationary Torture

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While Mumbai’s local trains are often called the city’s ‘lifeline’, the 164-year-old rail system is struggling to keep pace with the 76 lakh commuters who now use the system daily. In the aftermath of the tragedy at Elphinstone Road station, several teams fanned across the city to audit railway stations.Shashank Rao takes a closer look at five of the city’s major stations to find out whether improvements, if any, have been made to the stations’ infrastructure only to find that not much has been done to plug the gaps to ensure the safety of commutersBandraBandra may be called the ‘Queen of the Suburbs’ and its station’s building may boast a ‘heritage’ tag but the condition of the rail premises in and around Bandra station are in dire straits. The Western and Harbour lines culminate at this station which caters to the commercial hub of Bandra-Kurla Complex on the east, and posh neighbourhoods and old villages on the west.While the platforms of the 19th century Victorian-styled station are wide enough to contain the high footfalls the station witnesses, the foot-overbridges (FOBs) that connect the west to the east are in poor condition.Over the past few weeks, the Railway authorities have rid the FOBs of hawkers. The station boasts the city’s first skywalk which is sadly occupied by hawkers.The FOB on the station’s south-end is incomplete, and connects only to the west. The other end leads to Harbour line platforms. Senior Western Railway (WR) officials claim they have begun the work of extending this FOB, and connecting it to the skywalk. “This work is expected to be complete by the end of this financial year,” said an official. The FOB on the station’s north-end is rarely used by commuters owing to the inconvenience it causes for hiring auto rickshaws.Plenty of food stalls dot this station, many of them near FOBs, blocking the free movement of commuters. Slums on both sides of the station lead to frequent instances of trespassing and people using the tracks for sitting and drying clothes. Besides, the slum dwellers often throw garbage on railway premises including the tracks which is one of the primary reasons for waterlogging of rail tracks every monsoon.The multi-disciplinary audit team, that was formed for both Western and Central Railway after the stampede at Elphinstone Road station, has proposed bar fencing as a way to prevent encroachers from using the fifth rail line on the east side of Bandra. The audit report submitted to the Railway ministry also states the need to demolish abandoned buildings on the station’s east side, provisions for proper lighting, cement-concrete boundary walls, and shutting down of unauthorized entry and exit points to the station.Daily Footfalls2016-171.41 LJogeshwariOwing to the ever-increasing crowd at Andheri station, Jogeshwari station too has grown in prominence over the past few years. Attention was drawn to the station’s poor infrastructure only after commuters went up in arms and resorted to ‘Rail Roko’ in the first week of October. The station is used by commuters to access area such as Oshiwara, Goregaon and Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road.The station’s infrastructure is poor considering its dual-discharge island platform for the slow line which caters to platforms 1 and 2. Trains to Borivli and Churchgate arrive here but fast trains to Churchgate also halt here during peak hours. In all, nearly 480 services halt at Jogeshwari everyday.”We do not have sufficient space to walk or wait for the trains on this island platform. The situation has worsened especially after the platform on the west side was broken down,” said Mansoor Darvesh, secretary, Passenger and Traffic Relief Association and a Jogeshwari resident.The platform has been demolished to accommodate two more tracks that are meant for the proposed Andheri-Goregaon Harbour line. WR officials agree that the cutting down of the 3-meter wide platform on the west side has left little space for commuters, especially during peak hours. New platforms have been built further north of Jogeshwari station where the Harbour line trains are slated to make their halt. This has a subway built for people to enter or exit the station premises and has been completely covered by an oval shaped roof.A new FOB and an elevated ticket booking office has been built but commuters claim that the office is too high and there is a need for escalators. As a result, commuters tend to trespass rather than climb the long flight of stairs. Besides, the platforms do not have roof-cover at the ends which the WR authorities are now working to install.Daily Footfalls2016-171.06 LWadalaApart from local trains connecting the Harbour line, this station has a truck terminal and a junction which connects freight and goods trains from the city’s Port Trust to rest of the country. It is also the station where local trains connect both Andheri on the WR and Panvel on CR. Apart from the four rail tracks for the suburban system, there are at least eight rail tracks meant for goods trains carrying coal, cement and other freight.The daily footfalls at Wadala station have increased owing to the several offices that have come up around the area. Not to forget the college-going crowd of nearby degree and engineering colleges. To cater to this increasing crowd, CR officials say they have increased the number of services on the Harbour line with additional halts at Wadala. From October 2, the CR added 14 suburban services on the CSMT-Panvel Harbour line and another 14 on the Thane-Vashi Trans-harbour line.This station too witnesses several cases of trespassing due to the several illegal slums and encroachments around the rail premises. For instance, there are several encroachments causing problems at the Raoli junction near the station. “The CR needs to ensure that encroachments are demolished and people are rehabilitated so that garbage from rail premises can be removed,” said Gaurang Damani, a Wadala resident.CR officials said that the FOBs on the Kurla-end of the station witness heavy congestion. During peak hours, the station witnesses instances of overcrowding due to inadequate entry and exit points. The audit report has advised replacement of the existing FOB with a wider one, and extending it to the Monorail station.There is a possibility of creating four more entry and exit points, apart from removing railway offices to provide wider exits. The shops outside the station too need to be relocated and the Railways are in talks with the BMC for the same.Daily Footfalls2016-1770,767MasjidThis is one of the stations that connects older and busy markets such as Crawford Market, Manish Market, Masjid Bunder, Mangaldas Market and the Mumbadevi Temple. Additionally, it connects both the Main and Harbour lines.While the CR demolished and built a new road-overbridge at Masjid around seven years ago, the condition of this station continues to remain dismal.Platforms 3 and 4 slope towards the tracks, making them dangerous for commuters boarding and alighting from moving trains.”The iron borders of the staircase jut out which could hurt commuters hurrying to catch a train,” said a railway official. The multi-disciplinary team in its report noted that the staircases are slippery.This station too suffers from heavy encroachment with hawkers having residential dwellings outside and next to the station. These lead to congestion during peak hours. As there is a huge market area nearby, many vendors and sellers carrying bulk luggage use the FOBs which further leads to congestion.The CR authorities are working on providing space for extension on the FOB’s east side till the deck, in order to ensure speedy clearance on the CSMT-end of the booking office. Sources said that on the Kalyan-end of the FOB, on the west hand side, there is a shop blocking smooth movement of commuters and so the BMC has been asked to relocate this shop.Meanwhile, the middle FOB witnesses the maximum number of commuters as it is closest to the markets. The CR authorities are working on arrangements for walking using a skywalk on the vacant space connecting east and west. The officials said that the BMC has agreed to provide landings for the same.Daily Footfalls2016-1755,800KurlaThis station is among the most crowded in the suburban railway network. It provides access to Bandra-Kurla Complex on the west and Nehru Nagar, Andheri-Kurla Road on the east. It connects Main and Harbour lines of CR, making it an important station.The station has three FOBs which are densely crowded. Over 245 people who trespass have died on the tracks at Kurla until November this year. This is a particular problem near the northern end of the station from where Harbour line trains ply. Besides, the width of these FOBs are a mere 2.44 meters, needing immediate replacement with wider FOBs, and modification to connect it with the skywalk. Several women commuters at this station complain of being wrongly touched. After nearly a decade, a new subway has been inaugurated and thrown open to the public by the BMC.”This subway is needed to have arms connecting the platforms instead of only going from east to west,” said Subhash Gupta, president, Mumbai Rail Yatri Sangh.There are several shops — illegal and legal — that need to be removed and relocated in order to provide better access to commuters. At present, it is a struggle to exit the station premises but after the Elphinstone Road tragedy several hawkers have been cleared. Auto rickshaws parked haphazardly outside the station make smooth transit a problem. The audit report mentioned the need to disallow vehicular traffic from coming close to the station premises on the west side.There is also a proposal of having an elevated three-line Harbour station above the eastern part of the sprawling Kurla station. The Rs 96-crore project entails the creation of a rail flyover, starting from north of Chunabhatti to the south of Tilak nagar stations right above the current platforms 7 and 8. The elevated Harbour line will have two lines that will move towards CSMT and Panvel while the third line will terminate at Kurla. The rail line below will then be used by freight trains coming from Mumbai Port Trust via Wadala.Daily Footfalls2016-171.58 LWe have taken several steps to ensure that there is no congestion on rail premises. We are also coordinating with the BMC to demarcate no hawking zones.—Ravinder Bhakar, Chief PRO, Western RailwayWe have started taking initiatives to reduce congestion at railway premises. Work to improve infrastructure of platforms and FOBs has also begun.—Sunil Udasi, Chief PRO, Central Railway

Railways on drive to remove anti-social elements

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Railways are in the process of identifying stations where drug peddlars and addicts are often seen. On the Western Railway, they have received complaints from locals of these unwanted elements outside Grant Road station. Officials said that they are posting RPF staff to get rid of this menace. On the Central Railway, Masjid-CSMT is known for this menace.The WR officials said that during the multi disciplinary visits; the teams saw the presence of these anti- social elements who are threat to commuters. This is the reason the decision has been taken to evict these beggars, drug peddlers and other anti-social elements from Grant Road station premises. These people sit right outside platform 4 – where trains to Churchgate arrive – especially in the evenings.There is an old dilapidated railway yard right next to this platform, which officials state these people use to escape onto the road outside. “We have asked the RPF to monitor the stations where the elements are found and get rid of them,” said Ravinder Bhakar, Chief PRO, Western Railway.There is, at Grant Road station, a spot that is supported by six pillars as an extension to the station premises, with a ticket booking office next to this concourse where commuters are seen. Sources said that there is a proposal to shift the stalls inside the station present on the platform onto this concourse so that it doesn’t get encroached upon by anti-social elements.The BMC has already removed the beggars and as per the plans, No Hawking Zone has been created there. Sources said that there is an abandoned structure near the FOB on the same platform that too needs to be removed. The RPF officers claim that they are posting their staff at stations where the issue of anto social elements and hawkers have arise.On the Central Railway there are anti social elements that are seen between CSMT and Masjid stations. Sources agree that this stretch is well-known for these anti-social elements who operate despite action is taken from time to time. There is a proposal to remove the hawkers from both Churchgate and CSMT stations which are like hub for these hawkers.These steps are being taken to create more space on railway premises and on the outside so that people can walk freely. Over the past few days there have been demolition drives across various stations and its periphery. These critical actions taken by the government authorities is the outcome of the stampede at Elphinstone Road where 23 people lost their lives on September 29.

Churchgate taxi traffic issue solved

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The taxi menace outside Churchgate station has been taken care of by traffic police. They have regulated the movement of taxis and even BEST buses, which, for long, has been causing congestion outside the rail premises. Over the last few days, there have been red colour barricades placed on the road, meant to segregate flow of traffic.The presence of barricades might sound negligible, but in the morning and evening, when people rush to Churchgate station, this has brought respite. There is proper segregation of vehicular traffic unlike previously when traffic jams and chaos prevailed. The black and yellow taxis would park haphazardly on road, creating two or three parking lines.These cabs don’t move until they get a passenger, which causes a traffic nightmare. There is also a share-a-taxi stand which augments the problem on road. Drivers queue up till the bus stops, which make it difficult for the BEST buses.”We have been doing whatever possible to ease traffic on the roads,” said Ashok Dudhe, DCP Traffic (City).Now, ever since these barricades have been placed, the black and yellow taxis have been asked to drop passengers and move ahead without stopping. Buses find it easier to come all the way till the bus stops there and move forward towards Marine Lines.Sources from Western Railways said that this is part of the whole plan to ease congestion outside railway stations. The multi-disciplinary audit teams have suggested this to create space outside stations for free movement of people. “It has been found that people are forced to unnecessarily wait at bus stops, which creates more crowd at station premises,” said a WR official.NEW FOBMeanwhile, the Army and Railway authorities began preliminary work at Elphinstone Road. They began taking measurements for the new foot over-bridge (FOB) that will be extended from the existing Parel FOB. This 3.5-m wide FOB will have to cross seven rail lines and is expected to be ready by January 31.

Sachin Tendulkar had written to Suburban Dist Collector about rail safety in August

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cricket legend and Rajya Sabha MP Sachin Tendulkar, who has received criticism in the past for poor attendance in the Upper House and has been accused of being a passive parliamentarian, had on August 28 written to the Mumbai Suburban District Collector putting forth suggestions on a wide range of issues. He had urged the Collector to consider them while drafting the Mumbai Suburban District Plan 2025 — a blueprint for development of the district till 2025.In a five-page letter, Tendulkar put forth suggestions on issues such as hawker zones, safety and security of Railways, public transport, public parking, solid waste management, water supply, water transport and open spaces for children, among others.In the letter written to Deependra Singh Kushwaha, Tendulkar had said, “A dedicated Hawker Zone/ Food Zone will help clear pedestrian area in and around railway stations and on skywalks.””Pedestrians should be directed to take pavements or skywalks where constructed and not walk between traffic in at station roads,” He added.Tendulkar added, “Vacant spaces can be utilised in every suburb for creation of weekly markets with clear markings on space and temporary/ permanent hawker zones.” He also stressed on having connectivity via water transport services to cut down road congestion and help boost tourism in the city.In the letter, written a month before the Elphinstone Road stampede in which 23 people died, Tendulkar also wrote about providing safety and security for railway commuters. “There are platforms where there is a wide gap between the train and the platform, and at some places, the edges of the platform have worn out creating dangerous situations for alighting commuters. It is time that not only this city, but the country as a whole, makes safety and security its utmost priority.”He had drawn on Hong Kong, New York and Singapore as examples for dedicated water transport systems. “I have read recent reports of linking various ferry points such as Gorai/Andheri. It will provide and alternative for people away from trains and roads – for example, Gorai can also operate to South Mumbai with vehicles on board the ferry, cutting short a three-hour drive.”Creating green spaces was also on the agenda. “Restoration of green spaces where families can sit and cook together will help create community settings in the city. We must also encourage the construction of green buildings which are self-sufficient in terms of generation of electricity and depend minimally on the grid for supply.”Other issues on which Tendulkar focused were rainwater harvesting, cleaning of rivers and water tributaries and security of road infrastructure and traffic management.

Army’s job is to train for war, don’t divert defence resources: Amarinder Singh hits out at Nirmala Sitharaman

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior Congress leader and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday hit out at Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman saying, Army’s job is to train for war and not to be used for civilian works.The Congress leader lashed out at Defence Minister after she visited Elphinstone Road station along with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal where it was announced that Army will help build foot overbridge at three stations including Elphinstone.”The @adgpi job is to train for war, not to be used for civilian works @nsitharaman ji. Don’t divert defence resources to civilian jobs,” Amarinder Singh said.”You’re doing what General Kaul did with the 4th Div before 1962 war with China. It will set a very bad precedent. Please avoid,” he said in another tweet.Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also criticised the move.”The army was to be a measure of last resort to be called upon in extreme emergency. Now it seems like it’s the 1st number on the speed dial,” he said.Nirmala Sitharaman said that a call was taken to cooperate seeing the urgency of the matter as Army has its role at the borders.”Probably first time Army has been asked to come in to build what could otherwise be called civil work. But Elphinstone tragedy was so big, a call was taken to cooperate seeing the urgency of the matter,” she said.”I have been informed that the work on these bridges will be completed by January 31,” Fadnavis said.23 people were killed in a stampede on the Elphinstone Road station foot overbridge (FOB) last month.

Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam booked for holding rally without prior police permission

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam has been booked for addressing a rally of hawkers in suburban Malad yesterday without securing prior permission of the police, an official said today.After Nirupam addressed the rally of around 150 hawkers, workers of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) who were trying to evict hawkers from outside the Malad railway station were assaulted in afternoon.Police have arrested seven hawkers under various sections of the IPC, including 307 (attempt to murder).”A case has been registered against Sanjay Nirupam at Malad police station for holding the rally without a prior permission,” Mumbai Police spokesperson and DCP Deepak Devraj said.According to another official, Nirupam has been booked under sections 143 (whoever is a member of an unlawful assembly), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 37 (co-operation by doing one of several acts constituting an offence) of the IPC.In his address, the Congress leader had said that hawkers will not tolerate hooliganism of MNS activists.”I would not tolerate such high-handedness of MNS leaders against hawkers. The hawkers are capable enough to retaliate to any aggression from MNS,” he had said.After the rally, hawkers allegedly attacked MNS workers, in which one activist received head injuries.Heavy police bandobast was deployed in the area fearing backlash from the MNS.Police have also booked around 40 MNS workers for rioting and arrested 18 of them, an official said.Further investigation into the matter is underway and more arrests are likely, he added.After MNS chief Raj Thackeray addressed a rally in south Mumbai earlier this month over the death of 23 people in a stampede on the staircase of the foot overbridge (FOB) at suburban Elphinstone Road railway station last month, MNS workers took upon themselves the task of removing hawkers from station premises.

Bandra slum fire disrupts Western Railway services

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Train services were affected on the Harbour line between Bandra and Andheri stations as slum dwellers came onto the tracks on Thursday, after a massive fire broke out in Garib Nagar slums (Behrampada) at Bandra East.The incident took place during a demolition drive ordered by the Bombay High Court, and slum dwellers were seen getting their furniture, TV sets, refrigerators, sewing machines and even gas cylinders onto the railway tracks and platforms 6 and 7 of Bandra station, blocking the fifth line meant for long distance trains, and also the Up Harbour line towards Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus.The fire engulfed a portion of the skywalk near the eastern exit of Bandra station, causing that part to collapse. The ticket booking office and Automated Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs) on the Foot-over-Bridge (FOB) on the east side were also damaged in the fire. Auto-rickshaw operations and bus services outside Bandra station were suspended.”The Up and Down lines were suspended from 4.25 pm to 4.50 pm,” said Sunil Udasi, chief PRO, Central Railway. The railways allowed services to run on the Main line.Following the Elphinstone Road stampede on September 29, in which 23 people died, BMC and the Railways have stepped up their demolition drives. In fact, a multi-disciplinary team formed by Western Railway had mentioned the need for fencing near the fifth line to avoid encroachment.At Bandra (East), the Railways have lost over 5000 sqmt of land to encroachment. “There are nearly 360 illegally slums on our land. These need to be cleared for safety purposes too,” said a Western Railway official. In Garib Nagar alone, there are 450 encroachers some of whom have occupied and obstructed the fifth rail line near Bandra station.This is the third incident of a fire at Garib Nagar, after fires broke out in the slums in June 2009 and March 2011.The fireThe fire broke out around 3:15 pm, following which 9 fire engines, 10 water tankers and other fire-fighting machinery was pressed into action. The fire was brought under control by around 7.30 pm. Two Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB) officials, Arvind Parbhati Ghadge from Bandra and Ajay Ram Bandra from Marol were injured and admitted to Bhabha Hospital in Bandra. Their condition is stable.MFB officials said they would know the trigger for the fire only after investigation. However, locals say a cylinder blast could be the reason, as they heard a loud explosion before they noticed the smoke.MFB officials say they received a level-II fire call around 3.15 pm, and the intensity of the fire increased at around 4.30pm. Chief Fire Officer Prabhat Rahangdale said the fire was declared level-IV after its intensity increased.According to the BMC, the fire consumed electric wiring and installation, garments, scrapped material, plastic, kerosene, household articles, wooden furniture, LPG Cylinders, rags, among others, in an area of about 20,000 sqmt, counting some ground-plus-two and ground-plus-three storey structures.”A demolition drive was being conducted as the area was within the buffer zone of the Tansa Pipeline,” said an official from BMC’s H-East ward.A senior fire official said that they faced difficulty while dousing the fire in the initial stage as a crowd had gathered to take selfies.”The BMC told us on October 24 to clear our houses in 48 hours, but we weren’t told they would demolish our homes,” said Farida Begum, who was sitting on the tracks along with her family. “Now my house has been gutted and I couldn’t even carry all my belongings.” Her shanty was right next to the FOB.

Western Railway audit: Reduce luggage weight of commuters, instal escalators

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The best way to prevent people from standing on stairways of foot over bridges (FOBs) is to replace them with escalators. Not just this, the Western Railway (WR) in its audit report has suggested reducing the weight of bags and luggage carried inside local trains. Both these factors were among the reasons behind the Elphinstone Road stampede, when the smooth movement of people on the staircase of a foot over bridge was hindered by luggage and sacks carried by commuters.The audit report of WR has suggested that the size and weight of bags carried by commuters in local trains should be reduced drastically. Sources said that at present a commuter travelling first-class can carry up to 50 kg and a second-class passenger can carry 35 kg. “We have proposed to bring it down to 15 kg for first-class and 10 kg for second-class,” said a WR official.Just before Diwali, the Central Railway gave a proposal to the Railway Board in Delhi seeking permission to construct 214 escalators in Mumbai. At present, there are 22 escalators on CR and 32 escalators on WR. This is apart from the ongoing work on 52 escalators on CR. “We are also working at erecting these 52 escalators by June 2018,” said SK Jain, Divisional Railway Manager (Mumbai), Central Railway.The recent audit of stations done by the different teams had also asked the CR authorities to build 67 new escalators. These too have been included in the 214 escalators that have been sent to Delhi. The cost of each escalator is Rs 60 lakh that has annual maintenance contract of 3 years.The WR on the other hand is constructing 18 escalators and has asked for 80 more escalators across all the stations. Apart from this the CR will also construct 12 new FOBs.NEW MEASURESCCTVs planned to cover escalators. 12 new FOBs are being built at a cost of Rs 180 crore.
Special CCTVs will be placed that will capture the crowded locations and send a beeper to the RPF control room

Despite eviction, hawkers back on Rly premises; vigil intensified

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Despite the Elphinstone Road stampede in which 23 persons died, hawkers and vendors continue to encroach on railway station premises despite being evicted time and again.While the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) workers went on a rampage on Saturday to drive out hawkers outside railway stations, Railway authorities say they have already taken several steps to ramp up their vigil against hawkers.Both Central Railway (CR) and Western Railway (WR) claim that they have posted additional RPF staff whose job is to identify and evict hawkers from the rail premises. Since the Elphinstone Road stampede, the WR authorities have posted additional RPF staff to manage crowds and for removing hawkers at 34 locations while the CR has placed staff at 13 railway stations. Not just RPF staff but ticket collectors and staff from the commercial department too have been asked to identify spots where hawkers are present, block entry/exit points and even videograph them.”We are doing our best to remove the hawkers from the demarcated railway premises,” said Sunil Udasi, Chief PRO, CR.CR officials claim that they have registered 22,863 cases between January and September against hawkers and collected fines of up to Rs 1.14 crore. During the same period in 2016, the CR has registered 16,731 cases and collected fine to the tune of Rs 61.25 lakh.RPF officers claim that they have intensified checks time and again but hawkers return to the station premises — the concourse area on the FOB to sell their wares.Illegal hawkers make it difficult to walk and the passenger associations claim that it is nothing less than a sham.The Railways also requested a dynamic monitoring mechanism consisting centralised Control Room of the BMC with a helpline number so that complaints regarding hawkers can be immediately conveyed and resolved.

After stampede, railway station to have no-hawking zones

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Getting out of a railway station in Mumbai is already a tedious task, and to make matters worse, encroachment by illegal hawkers at or near railway stations hinders smooth movement. Thus, the Maharashtra government has fixed a ‘no hawking zone’ at all railway stations, specifying a buffer of 150-metres from rail premises. This comes as a significant step to decongest stations following the stampede at Elphinstone Road station in which 23 people died.Sources said that this decision has been taken following the September 30 meeting chaired by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal. “On October 8, we received a letter from the chief secretary asking us to create a ‘no hawking zone’ at stations,” said SK Jain, Divisional Railway Manager (Mumbai), Central Railway. The letter has been sent to the civic bodies too.Sources said that they have started the process of demarcating the rail premises for which they will put up boards or poles. Once this is done, the BMC will begin the process of identifying 150-metres from the rail premises. “We will calculate this distance from the entry or exit points of railway stations,” said another rail official.Railway officials are also identifying stations where hawkers are seen in huge numbers. Railways and BMC will then profile these hawkers. Apart from the Railway Protection Force, ticket collectors and commercial inspectors too have been allowed to click pictures of illegal hawkers. Profiles of hawkers will be created and maintained by the RPF. These will be shared with BMC, and the two agencies are expected to ensure that steps are taken to provide designated space for hawkers.Shashank Rao, president of Mumbai Hawkers Union, said: “We will first see the demarcation made for hawking. The 150-meters as ‘no hawking zone’ is absurd, as even during elections, people aren’t allowed till 100 meters. We are planning to go on a day-long strike in November against the policies framed against hawkers by the government.”BMC is already working on a Hawkers Policy, which was first proposed in 2014. It has sent a proposal to the state government to form a Town Vending Committees (TVC), which will outline the framework of the Hawkers Policy after conducting surveys.The TVC is likely to conduct surveys to identify street vendors, issue certificates to eligible ones, recommend areas to be declared non-hawking zones, demarcate spaces for hawking and regulate timings. The hawkers will be divided into three categories — mobile, stationary and permanent ones. There are close to three lakh hawkers in Mumbai.

Speak up Mumbai: Do rly officials need to be held responsible?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the ever-increasing population relying on the city’s lifeline for their daily commute, the railway infrastructure continues to crumble.The incident of Elphinstone Road stampede on August 29 was the last thing a Mumbaikar expected. What made it worse was the inquiry report that absolved railway authorities and gave them a clean chit despite the death of 23 people.The railways, BMC, MMRDA and police authorities have now come together to sort out differences and build safer railway stations in Mumbai. However, senior railway officials confirmed on Saturday that they will struggle to meet the new Parel FOB deadline. We can expect this reunion to help build a better transport network but the question of accountability remains if no one is held responsible for the death of these 23 people.Accountability is important so that jobs are taken seriously. DNA speaks to a cross-section of residents to know if officials across departments need to be held responsible for their actions, especially when it is a matter of life and death.Former Railway Minister, Suresh Prabhu, had already sanctioned the file for the Elphinstone-Parel FOB. However, the lower level bureaucrats were negligent and delayed the process of floating tenders. The officials should be held responsible for their lackadaisical efforts and an FIR should be lodged immediately.—Irfan Machiwala, resident of Mahim.To be honest, it’s not that railway officials are corrupt, it is because we are still following the red tape culture of government processes. It is high time that the government starts implementing the culture of private organisation in their own system. To improve accountability, the government should sack officials who do not perform up to the mark.—Upendra Rai, resident of VirarI do not agree that the government or Railways are responsible for the FOB stampede. Everyone was in a rush. Instead of pushing each other, people could have waited calmly. Further, rumours about the bridge collapsing added to the chaos. Hence, I think the onus of the stampede is on the commuters. Infrastructure development in a crowded city like Mumbai will take time.—Karan Kateja, resident of KalyanThis mentality of blaming the government for lapses is not right. The common man, too, has to be alert and sensitive enough to understand the situation. The rumours spread by people that day was the main reason behind the stampede. The Railways need to upgrade their infrastructure so that they can provide adequate services to the ever-increasing number of commuters during peak hours. We cannot entirely blame the Railways, but we, too, have to be equally responsible for the tragedy.—Madhu Daswani, resident of BandraThe railways should take ownership of what has happened. Infrastructure across Railways is poor and there is no accountability despite several complaints. The shifting of blame game should stop and commuters should get the facilities that they pay for.—Uday Kulkarni, resident of VikhroliYes, railway authorities should also be blamed for the incident. It is their responsibility to provide better infrastructure for the commuters. Apart from this, sudden rains and rumours added to the bridge collapse tragedy. However, a commuter-friendly bridge would have caused less damage. Rather than limiting these projects to paper, implementing them could have saved lives. Proper planning as well as implementation is necessary.—Rohit Sawant, resident of ParelOfficials should be held responsible for their erroneous actions. They have time and money to clear projects like the Shivaji Maharaj statue in the Arabian sea but not enough time to complete pending projects. The tragedy could have been averted if pending projects were completed in time. Rumours like “the bridge has fallen” would have then not affected people and created panic that lead to the tragedy.—Imran Shaikh, resident of AndheriDue to the influx of commercial spaces in and around Elphinstone and Parel, the narrow width of the bridge was highlighted time and again. Despite this, officials turned a deaf ear to the needs of the commuters. Railway officials are equally responsible and action should be taken against them.—Homa Pouredehi, resident of Marine LinesEXPERT SPEAKIdeally, in such cases a third party should conduct an inquiry. However, in the Elphinstone Road stampede case the inquiry was conducted by railway officials themselves. Due to this, none of their fellow colleagues or offcials responsible for this mess were found guilty. We can expect justice only if inquires are conducted by third parties.—Madhu Kotian, president, Mumbai Rail Pravasi SanghIdeally, in such cases a third party should conduct an inquiry. However, in the Elphinstone Road stampede case the inquiry was conducted by railway officials themselves. Due to this, none of their fellow colleagues or offcials responsible for this mess were found guilty. We can expect justice only if inquires are conducted by third parties.—Madhu Kotian, president, Mumbai Rail Pravasi Sangh

Mughalsarai Railway station renamed after Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay: Why this matters

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Uttar Pradesh government renamed the iconic Mughalsarai Railway Station after Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay on Saturday.In a bid to revive the legacy of RSS ideologue, Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government has not just renamed the fourth busiest railway station in India, but has taken away the historic legacy of the place.The small town near Varanasi has been the point connecting east India to northern parts. There was a time back in 19th century, when the Grand Trunk Road built by Sher Shah Suri was used by the Indian Subcontinent and Mughalsarai being located along Sadak-e-Azam made it an important corridor.But it was only in 1883 when the British came here that the town was renamed as Mughalsarai.They began laying down railway lines and soon Patna-Mughalsarai division, Mughalsarai-Allahabad division, Mughalsarai-Varanasi-Rae Bareli and the Mughalsarai-Gaya division came into existence.For 134 years, the town and the station has been called Mughalsarai. So why would the Yogi government decide the rename it? Well, there is a strong connection between Mughalsarai station and the RSS ideologue.Deen Dayala Upadhyay had died under mysterious circumstances while travelling in a train at Mughalsarai station on February 11, 1968.In August the UP government had sent the proposal that was accepted by the Centre.Politicians have been renaming places, cities in line with their ideologies. From Bombay to Mumbai, from Madras to Chennai, from Elphinstone to Prabhadevi, there are many such examples.While Mughalsarai has seen many names such as Oven Nagar to Mangalpur, but renaming the railway station with Asia’s largest railway marshaling yard will change the way future generations see the place.

Elphinstone station FOB work gains momentum

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The stampede tragedy at the Elphinstone Road station seems to have opened the eyes of the Railways. The department, which halts most of its projects during the rains, has taken on its heels and resumed its work on the long-pending Rs 51 crore Parel Terminus.The Central Railway authorities have expedited work over the last two days on the terminus that was proposed in 2011. The project at Parel Terminus includes construction of five platforms with overheads, widening of platforms to 10 metres, providing new FOB connecting East and West. The tenders on the proposed FOB was also delayed by 18 months.The tragedy would not have taken place had the FOB been wider. The Railway Board, on October 11, constituted a high-level expert committee to inquire the reasons that led to the delay of constructing the Rs 11.86 crore FOB connecting both Elphinstone Road and Parel stations.The issuance of Notice Inviting Tender (NIT) for Elphinstone Road FOB took around 18 months, for which barely Rs 1000 was provided in the 2016-17 railway budget. The committee would be headed by Shri Pratyush Sinha (Retd Chief Vigilance Commissioner) with Shri Vinayak Chatterjee, Chairman CII Economic Affairs council, and Shri Subodh Jain, (Retd Member Engineering, Railway Board) as members and Director Safety, Railway Board, and Shri Pankaj Kumar as Member Secretary.The FOB was part of the Parel Terminus meant to cater the increasing crowd at Elphinstone Road, Dadar and Parel stations. DNA had reported about the slow progress and delays in the project. “We have started cleaning the area. Soon, sufficient manpower will be deployed for the work,” said a CR official.

FOBs at rly stations to come under CCTV camera cover

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the wake of last week’s stampede at Mumbai’s Elphinstone Road foot overbridge (FOB), which claimed 22 lives, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) in Delhi has suggested to Delhi Division’s senior officers to install CCTV cameras on foot overbridges at all railway stations.Talking to DNA, Sanjay Kishore, Inspector General-cum-Chief Security Commissioner of RPF, Northern Railways, said the precautionary measure has been taken to step up vigil at FOBs, which get unusually crowded during peak hours. “The festive season is approaching and the step is being taken so that Mumbai-like tragedy is not repeated,” the IG said.On September 29, a huge mob of morning commuters were caught in a stampede on a narrow footbridge that links two railways stations in Mumbai, leaving 22 dead and more than two dozen injured. The bridge was unusually overcrowded as people had taken shelter there from heavy rainfall.Kishore further said the CCTV cameras would help them keep an eye on the mob and help in crowd management. “Every day, lakhs of passengers use FOBs at railway stations. In the wake of the Mumbai incident, the RPF and the Railways have become cautious. A proposal in this regard has been sent to the Divisional Railway Manager’s office, Delhi Division, and it has also been discussed with senior officers,” he said.The RPF had also stepped up security at railway stations in Delhi, after the terrorist attack on the Marseille train station in France last week.Taking precautionsOn September 29, a huge mob of morning commuters were caught in a stampede due to heavy rains on a narrow footbridge that links two railways stations in Mumbai.The incident left 22 dead and more than two dozen injured. The bridge was unusually overcrowded as people had taken shelter there from heavy rainfall.

After Raj Thackeray’s tirade against PM, MNS booked for not taking police permission for rally

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An offence was registered against organisers of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) rally in the city today for not taking a prior permission of the police.The MNS held the rally from Metro Cinema to the Churchgate railway station in south Mumbai to protest the deaths of 23 people in a stampede on a foot over bridge linking Parel and Elphinstone Road railway stations on September 29.Party president Raj Thackeray addressed the gathering of thousands outside the railway station.”As no official permission was taken for organising the rally, a case was registered at the Azad Maidan police station under section 37(1) (E) and section 135 of the Maharashtra Police Act,” a senior official said tonight.When asked if police have named Thackeray, the official replied in negative.Police have not given the exact number of organisers booked by them.MNS activists who participated in the rally had raised slogans against the railway administration and obstructed vehicular movement too, he said.”This was an act of disobedience of Commissioner of Police’s orders against unauthorised gathering,” the official added.

Activist rakes up 2016 RTI

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Western Railway (WR) in February 2016 had responded to an RTI saying the bridges on Churchgate-Virar route are safe. After the stampede massacre at Elphinstone Road, the RTI activist, Sharad Yadav, who had filed the RTI, has decided to move court and rake up the issue.”I had asked the WR authorities about the condition of bridges between Churchgate and Virar in February 2016. They had then said that all bridges on this section are safe and that the old bridges are replaced in a programmed way before they become unsafe,” said Yadav.The RTI has said once they notice the defect, it is rectified immediately or within a time frame. The reply further states that repairing and reconstruction is planned each year after inspection of the bridge.

Two PILs filed in HC after stampede massacre at Elphinstone Stn

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Four days after the stampede which killed 23 people at the Elphinstone Bridge, two Public Interest Litigations have been filed by a Thane and a Yari Road resident, urging the Bombay High Court to direct the railways to take preventive steps.In the petition filed by Vikrant Tawde, VP Patil states through his advocate that a judicial inquiry is conducted into the stampede incident. Further, the railways should carry out a survey and identify the high-risk stations. Give top priority to widening or increasing the foot over bridges (FOBs). The railway police should also maintain a lane discipline for passengers, the PIL read. A Zero tolerance policy towards hawkers over the bridges should be adopted by railways, the plea said. Tawde also said building materials such as granite, which become slippery during the rains, should be avoided for building the stairs.Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice NM Jamdar, before whom the petition was mentioned, said, “We were waiting to see who would file a petition, after closely watching the TV coverage.” The court has kept the matter for hearing on October 6.The other petition, filed by Faisal Banaraswala through his advocate Gunratan Sadavarte, also stated that the railways must grant exemplary compensation to the families of the deceased. The railways should provide all facilities to ease the physical stress caused to the commuters. Assistance such as escalators, emergency medical services should be easily available, the plea read. The petition is scheduled to be heard on Thursday.

Has Mumbai become India’s most unliveable city?

A deadly stampede is the latest tragedy in a city that seems to be crumbling at the seams.

Elphinstone tragedy: 22 deceased received ex-gratia within 24 hours, says Western Railway

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Western Railway has claimed that the kin of 22 people killed in a stampede here received ex- gratia payment within 24 hours and that its officers travelled to different parts of the country to disburse the money.A statement issued by the Western Railway said Rs 1.34 crore have been disbursed to the injured and the deceased.”We have disbursed cheques of Rs 4.85 lakh to the kin of 22 deceased. One dead passenger is yet to be identified,” said Mukul Jain, DRM of Mumbai division of WR.He said Rs 15,000 were disbursed on the day of accident itself. The deceased had received the cheques by Saturday.”We had opened a special counter at the KEM hospital to disburse cash to the kin of the deceased for transportation/ rituals of the deceased,” Jain said, adding as per the rules when such an emergency-like situation arises, the railways gives a part of the money in cash to meet contingency expenses.He said after the railway minister announced the amount of ex-gratia, a decision was taken to disburse the remaining amount through cheque and railway staffers handed it over to the kin of the deceased by on their doorstep.”Our railway staffers reached the doors of kin of the deceased in not only in Pune, Sangli but Allahabad also to hand over the cheques,” Jain said.Cheques have also disbursed to 30 passengers who received minor and grievous injuries into the mishap, the statement said.Twenty-three passengers were killed and 36 injured in a deadly rush hour stampede that occurred on a narrow foot overbridge connecting the Elphinstone Road railway station to Parel station on September 29.Shivaraj Pasalkar, the brother of Priyanka Pasalkar (23) who was killed in the stampede, confirmed receiving the cheque.Speaking to PTI over phone from Pune, Shivaraj said, “Of course, the railways displayed promptness in disbursing the money, but money can never compensate the loss of valuable lives.”He said had the railway administration been so quick to take measures about the bridge earlier, then this situation would not have arisen.Jain said apart from Rs five lakh compensation on behalf of the railways, the kin were also eligible to be paid Rs 8 lakh each from Railway Claims Tribunal (RCT).BJP MP from North Mumbai Kirit Somaiya, who has been taken up the issue of compensation with the tribunal, said, “The registrar of the tribunal has told me that a special Bench of Mumbai Railway Claim Tribunal is being formed to hear the matter of Elphinstone Bridge stampede and the claim for the compensation will be attended to in one month.”

Cops record statements of stampede survivors

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Twelve victims who were injured in the tragic stampede the Elphinstone Road station were discharged from KEM Hospital on Sunday. “We have discharged 12 patients on Sunday. The condition of all patients is stable now. While two patients were in ICU ward due to critical condition, one patient lost his life on Saturday and the other is now shifted to the general ward and showing improvement,” said Dr Avinash Supe, Dean of KEM Hospital.Speaking about the injured patients still admitted to the hospital, Supe said, “Everyone is stable and showing good progress. There are no further complications. Around three to four patients will soon undergo surgery since they have fractures on their body. They mostly have leg and hand fractures.”The Dadar police are in the process of recording statements of survivors and eyewitnesses to ascertain what triggered the stampede that killed 23 people. The police are trying to pinpoint who began the rumours of a short circuit and of the FoB collapsing, which are suspected to have caused people to panic and push others.According to the police, so far they have recorded statements of at least 60 people including those injured, survivors, railway staff, vendors, commuters and locals who witnessed the stampede.The police are now trying to track down people who have recorded video clips of the stampede on their mobile phones, to check the clips for any evidence of how the stampede was triggered. “We are probing through all the angles to ascertain the cause of the stampede, and we are corroborating the sequence of events,” said Sunil Deshmukh, Assistant Commissioner of Police (Dadar division).”We are appealing to people who have recorded videos and have witnessed the incident to come forward and assist us in our investigation,” Deshmukh added.Another police officer said,”The source of the rumour will be definitely be identified, given the number of witnesses who were present on the FoB at the time. However, it will be difficult to gather hard evidence to nail the culprits who spread such rumours.”Meanwhile, the Bhoiwada police on Sunday held two more Shiv Sena workers who allegedly attacked the forensic head of the King Edward Memorial Hospital, Dr Harish Pathak, and tried to scribble a number on his forehead, following outcry against the victims of the stampede being numbered on their forehead for identification.Two others have been already arrested by the Bhoiwada Police, and the police are on the lookout for two more Shiv Sainiks who have been identified from the CCTV footage from the hospital.PROBE UNDERWAYThe police are trying to identify who began the rumours of a short circuit and of the FoB collapsing, which are suspected to have caused panic.

Instead of sitting at home and consuming country liquor, Dalits should join the Army where they will get rum: Ramdas Athawale

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Minister of state for social justice and empowerment Ramdas Athawale made a controversial remark on Sunday when he stated that the instead of consuming country liquor, Dalit youths should join the Indian Army where they will get to drink rum.Athawale was advocating reservations for SC-ST community in the Indian army when he made the statement. Athawale was in Pune on Sunday where he interacted with media. Reiterating his earlier demand that SC-ST community should get reservation in the Indian army Athawale said, “While there are not many jobs available, the Dalit youth should join the Indian Army. Instead of staying unemployed and consuming country liquor, the youths can join the army where they will get rum to drink and good food to eat.” Praising the Dalits for their fighting spirit, Athawale added, “Dalits are known to be fighters and they can contribute towards bettering the Indian Army. There is a misconception that people joining the army die early. In reality, more people die in road accidents or due to heart attacks than while serving in the Army.” Athawale also spoke about the recent tragedy at Elphinstone railway station tragedy where 23 people lost their lives in a stampede where he demanded strong action against the guilty railway officials. “The tragedy has taken place due to the lethargic attitude of the railway officials. There should be a judicial inquiry in the mishap and the guilty railway officials should be given strict punishment.”While demanding action against railway officials, Athawale ridiculed opposition parties stance of opposing the Bullet Train. “Their stance of not having Bullet Train in the country is not right. While the improvement is needed in the infrastructure of local train, there is also a need of Bullet Train.”Being a part of National Democratic alliance (NDA) when Athawale was asked about the likelihood of Narayan Rane’s new party allying with NDA, he said, “Narayan Rane’s party will definitely be a part of NDA and the ally will make NDA even stronger.”

Elphinstone Road stampede: Congress rubbishes Raj Thackeray’s ‘outsider influx caused incident’ claim; says Indians have the right to move within…

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Stating that migration is a continuous phenomenon in India, the Congress on Sunday said every Indian citizen has the right to move, to take shelter and to live anywhere in the country, adding that nobody can stop them from doing so.The statement comes after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief RajThackeray stated that “Why do we need terrorists or enemies like Pakistan? It seems our own railway is enough to kill people.”Speaking to ANI, Congress leader P.C. Chacko said, “In India, every citizen one has right to move, to take shelter and to live anywhere in any country and nobody can stop them. The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena should change their mindsets.”
ALSO READ Won’t allow single brick for bullet train until Mumbai rail infrastructure is fixed: Raj ThackerayHe added that comparing railway accidents to war or insurgency or terrorists are not at all sensible way of expressing one’s personal opinion.Reacting to Thackeray remark that stampedes will happen till migrants continue to pour in, senior Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit termed the former’s statement as absurd, stating that Railway stations are made so that any human being could travel across the entire nation.However, he further raised question on Prime Minister Narendra Modi Government for blatantly ignoring the railway safety.On Friday, 23 people were killed and over 39 seriously got injured in a rush-hour stampede at Mumbai’s Elphinstone railway station’s foot over bridge

25 years later, Jogeshwari family’s fight for rail accident compensation continues

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Vinaya Sawant, a 54-year-old Jogeshwari resident, who was a victim of a railway accident 25 years back became restless when she heard the news of the stampede at Elphinstone Road station. Sawant, who uses a walker now was reminded of her accident on September 28,1992.Along with her disgruntled family, which now lives in penury was aghast at the prompt compensation offered to the victims by the Central and state government, while the Sawant family continues to fight a legal battle before the consumer forum. Her husband, Vilas Sawant, 61, a retired banker is supporting her in her fight to seek a compensation of Rs 18 lakh, primarily to foot their medical expenses.Sawant, while speaking to dna said, “On that fateful morning we both were on our way to office. Our three-year and six-month-old daughters were at home. My wife, a public sector telecom employee, and I were on the foot-overbridge at Jogeshwari railway station, when a section of the bridge collapsed. Along with a few other commuters, we fell straight on the railway tracks. Vinaya, suffered a spinal cord injury, which resulted in her limited mobility. Authorities, then rushed us to Cooper hospital, which is around five kilometres from the railway station. The preliminary treatment given to us was not sufficient. Doctors advised us for further specialised treatments. We had no other option but to seek treatment from a private hospital, which has costed us our family savings.”STAGGERED HEARINGSawant moved the consumer court in 1993, the forum and the then State Consumer Commission awarded him a compensation of Rs 9 lakh to be paid along with interest by the WR.
This order of 2006, was challenged in the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum with no outcome yet

A long recovery road for victims

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A number of victims began their month-long recovery on Saturday after the unfortunate stampede incident on Friday claimed 23 lives. On Saturday, after two patients took discharge against medical advice, there were 32 patients still being treated who were said to be stable.Piyush Thakkar, 22, a resident of Ghatkopar East managed to survive the stampede on Friday as he used his presence of mind and made his way through the crowd to reach the bridge railing. Thakkar, who works at a garment manufacturing unit in Elphinstone, was on the way to his office on Friday morning.”I was standing on the footsteps of the foot-over-bridge as commuters ahead of me were not moving. But, slowly the pressure of passengers from behind started increasing,” said Thakkar. He added that this continued for almost 10 minutes and then people started screaming.”I saw some commuters faint. Even I was not able to breathe, but managed to reach the railing and got a chance to bend my head over the railing,” added Thakkar. He recounted that the little air he inhaled saved his life. Thakkar is currently at KEM Hospital and he is recuperating from his chest injuries.Naresh Kamble, 35-year-old who was a worker with a distributor was one of the many who recounted the horror tale. With a fracture in his left leg, even though he is moved out of the hospital, doctors told him he will take at least a month to recover.While Kadam’s was a case of fracture, in case of a number of others the problem appeared to be grave. “There is no movement in one of the legs. Earlier, they said that they will move him out after two days but since there is no sensation, he will have to stay here for a while. I have been told that some nerves were pressed badly,” said Suvarna Ahire, mother of 26-year-old Rupesh.After being buried under a number of people, Ritesh Rathod, too, had a similar fate. “He is in a lot of pain and is not able to sleep properly. Though there is no fracture, there is no motion in his legs,” said Virendra Malekar, a friend of Rathod.Jeetendra Patel, 25, was in a shock to even speak to people. A native of Pratapgarh, Uttar Pradesh, he had come to Mumbai about two months ago and had started working at a garment shop as a salesman. Patel received severe injuries in his lower part of his body and cannot walk.

Stampede at Elphinstone Road: Two Shiv Sena workers detained for assaulting senior KEM doctor who numbered victims

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after a stampede at Elphinstone Road station in Mumbai killed at least 23 people, two men, allegedly members of the Shiv Sena, assaulted a senior doctor at KEM Hospital to protest the hospital’s action of marking serial numbers on the bodies of the Elphinstone station stampede victims, police said.The incident occurred on Saturday evening when the duo assaulted the forensic science head of the KEM Hospital, a senior police official said.”The two barged into the cabin of Dr. Hari Pathak and assaulted him. One of the accused, who brought a sketch pen with him tried to write a number on Pathak’s forehead,” he said.
ALSO READ Stampede at Elphinstone Road: Why no Mumbaikar will be surprised or shocked by the incidentAccording to the officer, a search of their five other aides is underway.”We have found membership identity-card of the Shiv Sena from one of the accused,” he said.
ALSO READ Day after Elphinstone stampede, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal says spend whatever is necessary on safety The two accused were detained and a case under sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 323 ( voluntarily causing hurt), 143 (member of an unlawful assembly, 145 (joining or continuing in unlawful assembly) and 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been registered, he said.Authorities at the KEM Hospital had come in for severe criticism for inscribing numbers on the bodies of the Elphinstone station stampede victims and putting up their pictures on public display.
ALSO READ Elphinstone stampede: Will survey all dangerous railway FOBs and submit report, says Sanjay NirupamThe tragedy took place around 10.40 am yesterday when an overbridge, linking Elphinstone Road and Parel suburban stations, became overcrowded with people taking shelter from a heavy downpour. The death toll in the foot over bridge stampede in Mumbai has risen to 23.

Elphinstone stampede: Will survey all dangerous railway FOBs and submit report, says Sanjay Nirupam

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Attacking former Railway Minister Suresh Parabhu for not paying attention to several complaints by commuters about over crowding at Elphinstone-Parel railway Foot Over Bridge (FOB), Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam said that he will soon lead a survey of all such dangerous railway FOBs and submit a detailed report.“Commuters used to daily tweet to Suresh Prabhu photographs as well as complaints about this FOB and how it could lead to a stampede but all these complaints were ignored and it was due to this apathy of the Railways that 22 innocent lives perished on Friday for no fault for theirs. It’s a shame that while on one hand railways cannot manage safety on its FOBs, it wants to start Bullet Trains from Mumbai,” said Nirupam who visited the Elphinstone station on Saturday morning for a condolence meet.Nirupam also shared that he along with his team will begin visiting all railway stations and conduct a detailed survey of such FOBs that were narrow and overcrowded, since they were sitting ducks for similar stampedes. The report will be compiled and submitted to both Western and Central Railway. “We don’t want a repeat of such tragedies, several places like Elphinstone, Curry Road, Lower Parel and others, which used to see a footfall of less than 75,000 now have over three lakhs commuters moving in and out as offices and other commercial spaces have shifted here. However railways have not upgraded the infrastructure of several stations like these as per the increasing footfalls thus putting the life of commuters at risk,” he alleged stating that they will pressurise Railways to take this issue seriously.Citizen Mahesh Walawalkar who commutes daily to Elphinstone from Jogeshwari said that it was sad that politicians were using this tragedy to gain brownie points. “Why were they waiting till now for carrying out such a survey. Things will only change if murder charges are filed against top railways officials as well, as only then due to fear they will take these issues seriously,” he said.

Teen takes unusual route, ends up dying

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An 18-year-old artist from Worli lost his life on Friday as he rushed to work. The youngster who usually takes his bike to work preferred taking the train to reach early. Mayuresh Haldankar, a resident of Worli BDD Chawl, worked at Fort area for a custom clearance company.Due to some urgent work, Haldankar rushed and got stuck in the crowd on the Elphinstone FOB. He wanted to deposit a cheque as the next three days were a bank holiday. The teenager worked during the day and studied at night in a local hostel. The friends and family members gathered in large numbers and slammed the railways for the incident.Haldankar was an artist who sculpted and designed idols of deities.Vinayak Rahat, a family friend said, “The entire family is in shock, this tragedy has shook the residents of BDD chawl in Worli. The teenager took his two-wheeler to work in Fort but he received a call from his office to urgently rush at Sandhurst road to collect a document and cheques. With the next three days being bank holidays, he was asked to deposit.”

Dusshera shopping turns fatal for two

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Like any other housewife Sumalata Shetty and Sujata Alva started their day with their daily chores. The two friends from Kanjurmarg cooked for the family, did their household chores, and decided to go to the Elphinstone flower market to buy some flowers for Dusshera.However, the two were caught in the stampede before they could reach the market and died on the spot. Family and friends were in grief as the two women rarely ventured out this far.nate incident that has happened. These two women are housewives and would otherwise be at home during this hour. However, Saturday being Dusshera, they wanted to buy a large quantity of flowers for the Puja at home and thus decided to go to the market” said Ganesh Shetty, a family friend of the duo.Shetty said that the duo was always together in all events. “I have never seen them apart. Be it social gatherings or cultural events, they would always be with each other. Sadly even in such an unfortunate event, they were together” he added.

I had never seen so many dead bodies in my entire life: Anuradha Desai

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>I was among the many who narrowly escaped the clutches of the tragedy that left 22 dead and over 20 injured on Friday. I normally reach Elphinstone Road station a little earlier than when I did on Friday. I was a bit late, and took the compartment that arrives closer to the foot-over-bridge that connects Elphinstone Road and Parel stations.In hindsight, had I not been delayed, I would have been further up on the FOB and could have met a worse fate.At around 10.15 am, when I alighted, the bridge was packed with commuters, with little forward movement. Since it was raining and many did not carry an umbrella, it seemed that people were not getting off the stairs.But as more people started alighting from incoming trains, the crowd got restless and wanted to get out of the station. Around this time, I started to climb the Kandivli-end of the FOB that connects the two stations. Rumours of a short circuit made the situation more chaotic.I do not remember where exactly on the bridge I fell and injured my hands. Another lady, who fell beside me, scratched me on her way down. After realizing that the crowd at the top of the flight of stairs was simply not moving, I got down the stairs, and instead took the foot-over-bridge that meets the road-over-bridge.It was only when I got off the road-over-bridge near the subway below the ticket counter, that I realised the gravity of the situation – I saw two men and two women being carried away. I have never seen so many dead bodies being carried away before my eyes. There was an ambulance and policemen.Since my hands and body were hurting after reaching office, my colleagues took me to hospital where my family had come to take me home. Luckily, no major injury was found after all the tests were conducted.I probably escaped the clutches of death only because I was a bit late today.(—As told to Ashutosh M Shukla)

Sorry but it was an emergency, says KEM after writing numbers on Mumbai stampede victims’ foreheads

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Under fire for writing numbers on the foreheads of the Elphinstone victims, Mumbai’s KEM has clarified that ‘it was a scientific measure’ and that the hospital didn’t intend to hurt anybody’s sentiments. In order to help relatives and friends identify their loved ones who lost life during the Parel bridge stampede incident on Friday morning, posters and flex boars of the victims were displayed at various places in the KEM hospital.The 22 commuters who were taken to KEM hospital for treatment were announced brought dead.A photo of the flex board displaying the mugshots of victims at the KEM Hospital where circulated on various WhatsApp group.The relatives who visited the hospitals were told to identify their loved ones through the photos of 22 victims with numbers written across their foreheads.Dr Avinash Supe, dean of KEM Hospital, said, “Due to emergency, they might have written it on the foreheads. It was not intentionally done and if we have hurt someone’s emotions, we are extremely sorry for that.”Clarifying on why bodies were given numbers on foreheads, Dr Harish Pathak, HoD, Forensic Science, KEM Hospital, said, “When suddenly 22 dead bodies were received at KEM Hospital’s emergency ward and lot of relatives were rushing to identify them, it would have been a big mental trauma to make all relatives to see all 22 dead bodies to identify their missing persons. It would have become chaotic and hectic exercise. Hence we took the photographs of the face of all dead bodies, numbers them and displayed it to the relatives on a laptop screen. Subsequently, the photographs were also displayed on a flex at the hospital to further expedite the process of identification and we could identify 19 dead bodies within three hours and started the process of panchanama.”He added “After the autopsy, those numbers were erased before handing over the dead bodies.”“At no point, we intended to or planned for circulating those photographs in social media. Hence it would be unjustified and unwise to criticize this scientific method adopted by us with sole intention and purpose of speedy and smooth identification, autopsy and handing over of dead to their relatives,” he said.Meanwhile, Chief Minister Devendra Fadanavis returned to Mumbai around 11 pm on Friday. He went to the KEM straight from airport and visited the victims.

What killed 27 people in Elphinstone stampede? Officials blame rain: 10 facts

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Elphinstone railway station, the world’s busiest train station, turned the deadliest on Friday morning when 27 people lost their lives in rush hour stampede.This is the first time in the history of Mumbai local trains that so many people have died on a railway station.Last time, the railway tracks witnessed so many dead bodies was in 2006 Mumbai blasts.As Mumbai goes back to its usual rhythm, here are 10 facts about the Elphinstone stampede:1: The Western Railways has blamed incessant rains for the stampede. “Rains were unprecedented and people were caught unawares,” the official statement said.2: “Prima facie, rumours like falling of FOB led people to panic,leading to tremendous push from behind towards exit leading to stampede,” the Western Railways said.3: The stampede took place on the foot over bridge at the Elphinstone station around 10:30 am in the morning rush hours.4: Locals living in the area say that the Friday’s incident was waiting to happen. “Ever since new office buildings have come up in the area, the crowd has increased many times, but nothing has been done to improve the infrastructure at the station. Who is responsible for these deaths,” asked Arun Tiwari, regional head of a marketing company, who lives nearby.5: But it was these very people who came to the commuters’ rescue much before the police or medical aid arrived.6: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadanavis, who is currently in Singapore on a two-day visit, took to Twitter to express his shock and sorrow. He also announced relief of Rs 5 lakh for the family of the stampede victims.7: The massive suburban local train network, often called as Mumbai’s lifeline, ferries 8 million people daily, an IndiaSpend report said.8: Though the Friday’s incident is deadliest in terms of casualties, the report also said that 9 people die every day on these tracks9: The peak rush hour in morning is 8:30 am to 9:30 am when over 6 lakh people commute in the trains.10: According to The Hindu report, minutes after the accident, the Government Railway Polcie and Mumbai Police personnel were seen arguing over the jurisdiction of the stampede.

Stampede at Elphinstone Road: Why no Mumbaikar will be surprised or shocked by the incident

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The stampede at Elphinstone Road railway station in Mumbai killed at least 27 people and injured over 30. However, this would have not been the case had officials paid heed to the repeated complaints of commuters and the media that have been doing the rounds for at least 20 years. Anyone who has used that footbridge will tell you this was an accident waiting to happen, like leaving a burning flame near a petrol station. The only thing they did change at the station was its name. It was officially renamed Prabhadevi a few months ago.Ironically hours after the incident, this reporter along with another colleague went to investigate the situation, and we were yelled at by a commuter for slowing him down as he was about to catch a train. The spirit of Mumbai never dies and it unfortunately has become a cliche to justify official apathy and an albatross around the neck of Mumbaikars.
ALSO READ Elphinstone stampede: Maha Govt announces Rs 5 lakh to kin of victims; Piyush Goyal orders high-level enquiryRush hour #rushhour #mumbailocal #station #officecrowd #railways #mumbai #peopleofmumbai #mumbai_igers #mumbaiinstagrammersA post shared by jayadev calamur (@jayadevcalamur) on Sep 21, 2016 at 9:19am PDT
ALSO READ Rain to blame for death of 27 people in Elphinstone stampede, says Western Railways Ever since Lower Parel and Elphinstone Road replaced Nariman Point and Churchgate as the business hubs of Mumbai, the city saw a large influx of its working population moving here. From a mill area, Central Mumbai became a commercial hub, with offices, malls and hotels rapidly sprawling.However, even as the area developed, the stations remained the same. Dadar, Mumbai Centra, Bandra, Andheri and Borivali, which are important stations on the Western Line got the necessary makeovers and a budget was even sanctioned to inaugurate a new station between Goregaon and Jogeshwari (Ram Mandir Road), but Lower Parel and Elphinstone Road (and Curey Road and Parel on the Central Line that witness the same crowds) were left alone.One of the biggest problems that these stations have faced is the hawker issue. A 2010 DNA blog by veteran railway journalist and historian Rajendra Aklekar. In the blog, he describes how he had alerted the railway police of the hawker menace, but nothing was rectified. In another blog, which was a follow-up of the first one, Aklekar describes how he was later threatened by these hawkers .In 2016, Arvind Sawant, a Shiv Sena MP wrote a series of letters to the Ministry of Railways requesting sanctions to rectify the stations. He even received a letter from then railway minister Suresh Prabhu.This was a portion of Prabhu’s reply, “It has been one of the toughest years for the Indian Railways because of the adverse effects of the global slowdown. Even in these challenging times, the following railway works in your constituency is under our positive consideration: The construction of a 12 metre wide foot over bridge (FOB) connecting Western Railway and Central Railway at Elphinstone Road, after extension of platform 1 and 2 towards the north side by 10 metres.”This letter was written in 2016. It’s almost October 2017 and nothing has been done as yet. During this same period, nearly 3,800 people have died on local trains. And Mumbaikars will complain, but will continue living their lives as if nothing happened.

Mumbai stampede, surgical strikes anniversary, Elon Musk and Delhi murder: DNA evening must reads

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>27 killed in stampede at Mumbai’s Elphinstone railway station, probe orderedAt least 27 people were killed and over 30 others injured in a rush-hour stampede on a foot overbridge (FOB) linking Elphinstone Road and Parel suburban railway stations in Mumbai on Friday morning. The incident took place at around 10:30 am due to a heavy crowd at the foot-over bridge after rains. The injured were taken to to KEM hospital. Read full story here Surgical strikes anniversary: How Indian Army live-streamed operationsA year after the crucial surgical strikes by the Indian Army across the Line of Control, strategic informations are now being made public. General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Indian Army’s Northern Command (retired) Lieutenant General DS Hooda, the archietct of the surgical strikes, revealed that the operations were live-streamed back to the army headquarters in Udhampur and Delhi. Read full story hereDelhi man kills 6-year-old for making lewd remarks at his newly-wed wifeIn a bizarre incident, a Delhi man allegedly killed a six-year-old boy for ‘making lewd remarks’ at his newly-wed wife. The 19-year-old accused has been arrested from his Okhla Phase-II house, an HT report said on Friday. According to the report, Rohit, the 19-year-old accused allegedly attacked the boy for ‘ogling’ at his wife while she was taking bath. The teen panicked after the boy’s head hit the corner of the bed and fell unconscious. Read full story hereJaitley’s comments ‘cheap’, below my dignity to respond: Yashwant SinhaBJP veteran Yashwant Sinha on Friday accused Arun Jaitley of making “cheap” remarks and said the finance minister’s criticism of his work amounted to criticism of then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who had entrusted him with key ministries. Read full story hereAround the world in 30 minutes? Elon Musk thinks soIt’s Star Trek coming to life, if what Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk said on Friday becomes a reality. The inventor, has said that his company has ambitious plans to send cargo ships to Mars by 2022, and use rockets to carry people between Earth’s major cities in under half-an-hour. While it’s exciting news, we wonder how much the mission would cost. Read full story here

Elphinstone stampede: Maha Govt announces Rs 5 lakh to kin of victims; Piyush Goyal orders high-level enquiry

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Railways Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday ordered a high-level inquiry into the stampede at Elphinstone station in Mumbai.According to the reports, at least 22 people lost their lives and several were injured when a stampede broke out on the foot overbridge at the station. The injured are being treated at the KEM hospital in Mumbai.”Deeply grieved at the tragic loss of innocent lives due to unfortunate stampede. Have ordered a high-level enquiry headed by the Chief Safety Officer, Western Railways,” said Railway minister Piyush Goyal on his way to KEM hospital.Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, who is in Singapore to discuss the prospect of investment in the state, also announced an enquiry at the state level and promised to take strict action.The CM also announced ₹5 lakh for the next of kins of the deceased. He added that all the medical expenses of the injured will be borne by Government of Maharashtra.Meanwhile, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team has reached the site of the stampede. BMC’s disaster management unit said ‘required agencies have been mobilised.’Elphinstone station is usually crowded during the peak hours as it caters to office-goers in the Lower Parel area. The station, on the Western Line of the Mumbai suburban rail network, also connects to Parel station on the Central line.

‘Three dead’ in Mumbai station stampede

Stampede at a Mumbai railway station has left three people dead and injured about 30, Indian officials say

Two dengue deaths within nine days in Elphinstone

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two residents of neighbouring housing societies in the Elphinstone Road area died of dengue within nine days. While a 31-year-old man lost his life on Tuesday morning, a 11-year-old boy passed away nine days before that due to dengue. Residents of the area have been complaining about the rising dengue cases in the area, which they attribute to the Dadar fish market next door.Ashok Maskar, president of Swaraj Society, where residents are falling ill due to dengue, said, “Since May, we have been complaining to the corporator but haven’t got any positive response. The BMC staff hardly visits the area for fogging. We face mosquito breeding problems.”A resident from Sundarnagar society, where the 11-year-old boy died due to dengue, claims that two more residents had got dengue. Vinod Lokhande, a former secretary of the society, said, “The BMC staff inspected breeding spots and water tanks, and do fogging.”Ramakant Biradar, assistant municipal commissioner of G-North ward, said, “We have been doing regular check-up and setting up medical camps. There is no rise in the dengue cases.”

Doc’s body finally found in drain near Worli

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The body of Dr Deepak Amarapurkar, 58, a reputed gastroenterologist of Bombay Hospital feared to have fallen into an open manhole while wading through waist-deep water at Elphinstone on Tuesday, was found in a drain in Worli on Thursday morning.Dr Rashmi Karandikar, DCP, spokesperson for Mumbai Police confirmed the incident and said, “We identified his body through his watch and sent the body for postmortem that revealed that the death took place due to drowning. A case of accidental death has been registered at Dadar police station. The investigation is on.”His last rites were performed by his older sister Manisha at the Shivaji Park crematorium in Dadar on Thursday afternoon. He is survived by his wife Dr Anjali, a senior pathologist, and his son Rohan and daughter Pooja who are studying abroad and will return to the city on Friday.Amarapurkar’s relatives and colleagues from the medical fraternity said the lackadaisical approach of civic authorities had claimed his life and demanded strict action against those responsible.On Tuesday afternoon, when heavy rains were battering the city, Amarapurkar left Bombay Hospital for his Prabhadevi residence. He went missing after he stepped out of his car at Deepak Cinema near Elphinstone flyover and began walking towards his home. Eyewitnesses had informed the police that they saw a man falling into a manhole left open to flush out rain water, prompting a search operation for the doctor. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) had to temporarily suspend search operations after it got dark on Wednesday evening, and resumed it on Thursday morning.Dr Shivkumar Utture, member of the central working committee of the Indian Medical Association, said, “We have conducted a meeting with doctors and have planned to write to the government and demand justice for Dr Amrapurkar. The person responsible for the death should be punished. It is a big loss to the medical fraternity.”The incident also triggered an outpouring of grief and anger on social media.

Mumbai rains: Renowned doctor of Bombay Hospital goes missing; search operation underway

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Renowned gastroenterologist of the Bombay Hospital Dr. Deepak Amrapurkar went missing near the Elphinstone Road station following heavy rains which lashed the megapolis, the police said.58-year-old Amarapurkar had left for home last evening by his car but due to water logging on the road he asked his driver to drop him near the Elphinstone Road station and started walking towards his residence, a senior police official said.The doctor went missing while he was walking towards his residence when it was pouring heavily, the official added.”According to some eye-witnesses Amrapurkar fell in a manhole and police recovered his umbrella from near it,” said Sunil Deshmukh, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Dadar Division.The said manhole has been cordoned off and search operation with the help of fire brigade and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation personnel is on, he said and added a missing complaint has been lodged.Torrential rains pounded the metropolis throughout the day yesterday. The city gauged a whopping 298 mm of rainfall, the highest in a day in August since 1997.

DNA Campaign: Beating the odds | He scored 93%, but has no money for college

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sangli boy Tushar Kundalik Javir is the new poster boy of his village Dighanchi. A student of Dighan High School, Tushar managed to scored 93.4 per cent in his 10th board exams even though he had to juggle between his studies and a job as a farm hand to help with money at home. But the young boy’s struggles are far from over. The family has no money to fund his college education.Tushar lost his father at a very young age. Since then, his mother Usha has been the sole bread winner of the family, providing for her three children. Securing a good education for them is a constant struggle for Usha.”My son is a very bright student. Despite all odds, he studied with determination, and entirely on his own, as we couldn’t pay for a tutor. He surprised us with his marks. I’m very proud of him,” Usha said.Following his performance in the SSC board exams, Tushar now aspires to become a doctor, and serve the society. “I knew that Class 10 is very important, so I started focusing more on studies. I want to pursue Science in my junior college, but my family can’t afford the expenses involved,” said Tushar.Appeal to readersDear readers, if you are inclined to charity, please donate generously for funding the future education of these bright, underprivileged kids. You can send in cheques issued in the name of the student to Diligent Media Corporation Ltd, 11th floor, Tower 3, Indiabulls Finance Centre, Elphinstone Road (W), Mumbai 400013. For queries, contact: 02224827821 from 11am to 7pm

DNA CAMPAIGN: Beed boy scores 97%, wants to take up IAS to serve the country

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A student of Shivaji Vidyalaya in Beed district, Datta Waghire scored 97 per cent in his class 10 board exams despite many odds.When Datta was 5, his father, who was the sole breadwinner of the family, passed away. Since then, his mother Manisha has struggled to make ends meet and provide for her three children. The Waghires, who live in Udant Wadgaon, near Shivaji Nagar in Beed district, barely scrape by on the money Manisha makes.To ensure a better future for her son, she sent Datta to Shivaji Vidyalaya in the city after class 5 for higher studies. The school faculty noticed his potential and provided him with the necessary resources for his education.“Datta worked very hard through the year for this. I am very proud of my son and would want to see him in a respectable position in the future,” says Manisha.“My mother’s relentless hard work and the guidance from my teachers helped me to excel in my studies. One of my foremost priorities in life is to see my mother happy without having to worry about the financial constraints.” The 15-year-old wants become an IAS officer, which he says, would be his ideal way to give back to his beloved mother and also his country.The school officials were all praise for the boy and congratulated him on his exemplary performance.Appeal to readersDear readers, if you are inclined to charity, please donate generously for funding the future education of these bright, underprivileged kids. You can send in cheques issued in the name of the student to Diligent Media Corporation Ltd, 11th floor, Tower 3, Indiabulls Finance Centre, Elphinstone Road (W), Mumbai 400013. For queries, contact: 02224827821 from 11am to 7pm

Beating the odds: Boy balances work and studies, scores distinction

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For Tanmay Shiral, a resident of Umer Katha, Osmanabad the austere lifestyle and poor economic conditions did not act as a deterrent in preparing for his class 10 Board exams. He passed the much dreaded SSC exams with flying colours and secured an overall score of 94.40 per cent.However, Angad Shiral, Tanmay’s father, is a tea stall owner while his mother, Surekha Shiral is a daily wage earner. Tanmay on his part, too, lends a helping hand. He spent the better part of his class 10 by helping his father at the tea stall during the day and catching up with his studies in the evening.Tanmay completed his schooling from Samata High school, a Marathi medium school and aims to pursue his further studies from an IIT college post his HSC exams. He has already started preparing for JEE. The family of five is struggling to make ends meet and needs financial support to help achieve their son’s dreams.His school principal was also all praise for Tanmay and said that he has set an example.Appeal to readersDear readers, if you are inclined to charity, please donate generously for funding the future education of these bright, underprivileged kids. You can send in your cheques issued in the name of the student to Diligent Media Corporation Ltd, 11th floor, Tower 3, Indiabulls Finance Centre, Elphinstone Road (W), Mumbai 400013. For any queries contact: 02224827821 from 11am to 7pm

DNA CAMPAIGN: After 98.20% in 10th, she hopes to become doctor

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tejasvini Tarte’s story is one of sheer grit and determination. Tarte, a resident of Latur, Maharashtra, scored 98.20 per cent in her class 10 board exams despite the hardships that came her way. When Tejasvini was barely a year-and-a-half old, she lost her father to blood cancer. Her mother Meena had to shoulder the responsibility of her two daughters, Tejasvini and Vaishali. To make ends meet, Meena worked as a house help. After working in seven to eight homes, Meena manages to earn Rs 5,000 a month, making it difficult for the family to take care of their expenses.Tejasvini has been helping out in every way she can. Despite the obstacles, she has managed to get an impressive score but is now worried about financing her further education.“I am really happy that I could manage such a good score. I used to help my mother at work and would hardly get any time to study. However, I was determined to give my best in the time that I got and worked hard,” she says. Tejasvini attributes her success to her family’s hardships, and the efforts of Satish and Savita Narhare of Dnyanprakash Vidyaniketan School, who took care of her studies. “I did not take any tuition as we could not afford it. But my school taught me very well,” she added.Tejasvini now wishes to become a doctor and treat poor patients. “My father died as he did not get timely help. I do not want anymore patients to suffer like him,” she says. Her mother is both happy and worried of her aspirations. “We are happy that she wants to become a doctor but her dream can only become true if we get some financial help,” said her mother.Appeal to readersDear readers, if you are inclined to charity, please donate generously for funding the future education of these bright, underprivileged kids. You can send in your cheques issued in the name of the student to Diligent Media Corporation Ltd, 11th floor, Tower 3, Indiabulls Finance Centre, Elphinstone Road (W), Mumbai 400013. For any queries contact: 02224827821 from 11am to 7pm

Despite being a farm hand, Swati Patil scored 91.6% in Class 10 exams

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Fifteen-year-old Swati Patil, who belongs to a poor family of landless labourers in Kathora village located in Jalgaon district, has inspired several students by securing 91.6 per cent in the Class X board exams. Patil, a student of Chhatrapati Shivaji High School, has beaten all the hardships that the family has been undergoing by making her dream come true.Swati, who stays in a mud house made with thatched roofs, saw her mother working all day as a labourer on other people’s farms as they do not own any land. Her father, Bhikan Patil is physically disabled and cannot toil hard due to his physical limitations.To support her family, Swati had to help her mother on the fields while juggling her work and studies at the same time. “I have given several competitive exams while in school and have always been doing well in studies. My school has been very supportive in my efforts and my family tries to be with me despite their financial limitations” said Swati. She aspires to become an IPS officer.Swati’s mother Sarla said that Swati is a hardworking student and has taken a lot of pain to get such a good score. “We belong to a very poor family and have to struggle a lot to make ends meet. After I would leave for work, Swati would work in the house. She would also lend us a helping hand on the field on weekends and holidays. She dreams of studying further but we are not in the financial condition to support her higher education” added Sarla.Her father Bhikan, who was born with a disability and met with two accidents said that the family has high hopes from Swati. “Both Swati and my son have been good students in school. We really want Swati to study further but have no money. We cannot borrow any more money from others and are really hoping to get some help from good samaritans” he added.Appeal to readersDear readers, if you are inclined to charity, please donate generously for funding the future education of these bright, underprivileged kids. You can send in your cheques issued in the name of the student to Diligent Media Corporation Ltd, 11th floor, Tower 3, Indiabulls Finance Centre, Elphinstone Road (W), Mumbai 400013. For any queries contact: 02224827821 from 11am to 7pm

Sena presses for changing British era names of rly stations

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Shiv Sena has pressed for changing the British era names of seven suburban railway stations in Mumbai, giving them a local touch. A delegation of Shiv Sena leaders met Union Home minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi yesterday to take up the demand, party sources said today. The party wants to rename Elphinstone Road, Mumbai Central, Charni Road stations on Western Railway, Currey Road on Central Railway and Sandhurst Road, Cotton Green and Reay Road stations on the Harbour Line. It argues that these names were associated with the British raj, without any direct bearing on the area they denote or local history. “Most railway stations are named after the areas they are located in. There are some stations where the name of the area is different from the name of the station. We demanded that such stations be known by the name of the area,” Sena MP Arvind Sawant told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Sena wants renaming of Mumbai stations having colonial names

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Shiv Sena today demanded renaming of Mumbai’s five railway stations having a colonial imprint. Shiv Sena member Arvind Sawant said in the Lok Sabha that the Mumbai Central station should be rechristened after Jagannath Shankar Seth for his contribution to the city and the growth of railways in its pioneering years. Seth is known for his contribution towards the Victoria Terminus station now known as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. Apart from Mumbai Central, Sawant also demanded that Charni Road station be renamed as Girgaum, Elphinstone Road as Prabhadevi, Curry Road as Lalbaug and Sandhurst Road as Dongri. “Most of these railway stations have colonial names. Curry Road is in Lalbaug, Sandhurst Road is in Dongri, Charni Road is in Girgaum. The addresses and pin codes are identified with Lalbaug, Dongri and Girgaum and not with the names of any of these stations,” Sawant said. Last year, a new station was created on Mumbai’s suburban rail tracks and named as ‘Ram Mandir’. During the earlier Shiv Sena-BJP regime between 1995 and 1999, Victoria Terminus was rechristined as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Mumbai: Minor fire breaks out at under construction building in Elphinstone

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A minor fire broke out at an under construction building in Elphinstone (West) which caused a little panic on Saturday evening.However, the fire was doused by the fire brigade immediately. According to fire control, the fire was reported around 5 pm and it was doused within 10 minutes.An official informed that the fire took place in the lift shaft of the under construction building located along Jagannath Bhatankar marg near Eliphistone bridge.“The fire got caught in construction materials like bamboo and wood and it was doused soon after the team of fire brigade reached,” said an official. He added that though the fire was small, standard procedure was followed.The cause of the fire is not known, however, officials suspect that sparks of wielding machine could be a reason.

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