22 dead in stampede at Elphiston station bridge


Mumbai:  At least 22 died and more than 35 injured in a stampede that broke out at the narrow bridge of Elphiston Road station during the rush hours of Friday morning in Mumbai. Railway minister Piyush Goel has announced a compensation of Rs. 5 lakh for the victims.
Off the 22, 13 are men, 8 women and one boy were amongst the dead, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) announced on Friday evening.  The injured were taken to the KEM hospital, where they are undergoing their treatment.
The incident took place at about 10.30 am, when the bridge connecting western line  Elphiston station and Central line Parel station became overcrowded when people stayed on the bridge to protect themselves from the heavy downpours, which eventually trapped people on the already narrow staircase, increasing the rush on the bridge.  
Witnesses recall that bridge was so overcrowded that people suffocated to death. “The bridge is covered from all three sides and with it being jam packed, a few people died of suffocation,” a witness said.

Adding to the turmoil rumours that a part of the bridge was collapsing and current flowing through the metal bars, made the trapped pedestrians run for lives which also turned into a death trap. Many people were seen climbing the railing to escape suffocation, while most of them were seen trying hard to keep themselves firm footed on the ground to avoid losing balance. However, despite efforts, the pressure from the people strangled above the bridge could not keep them upright, resulting in few more injuries caused by tumbling on one another and heavy stampede.
“People were seen flowing out of the bridge like a herd of sheep. It was a scary to watch them helpless,” another witness said.
The bridge was built during the British era, and was not renovated since then.

No one responsible for 22 deaths? 
This incident took a toll on the ruling BJP with people criticizing the PM’s initiative to launch the bullet train ignoring the basic amenities. The incident gathered further criticism after an official release from the stated that it was the rains that caused the stampede and still the bridge remained intact.
People are showing their anguish on the social media stating that the government has money and time to change the names of the railway stations which is not mandatory but not working on basic amenities.
"Due to sudden rain, people waited at the station. When the rain stopped, there was chaos as people rushed out," added railways spokesperson Anil Saxena said.
Arvind Savant from Shiv Sena alleged that it is merely the irresponsibility of the railway ministry that this accident took place. “This could have been easily avoided. I had written to the former Rail minister Suresh Prabhu that the bridge needs to be widened, but in vain.” 
In the year 2015, a budget of Rs. 11 crore had been allotted for the expansion of the bridge, but the work failed to take off.
Manoj Sinha State Minister for Railways said, “The bridge still remained intact.”

Nation condoles Mumbai incident
PM extends his condolences over stampede in Mumbai
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extended his condolences over loss of lives in stampede incident in Mumbai The Prime Minister said, "My deepest condolences to all those who have lost their lives due to the stampede in Mumbai. Prayers with those who are injured. Situation in Mumbai is being continuously monitored. Rail Minister Piyush Goyal is in Mumbai taking stock of the situation & ensuring all assistance." 
Mamata Banerjee expresses condolences over Mumbai stampede
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her condolences over deaths due to a tragic stampede in Mumbai and also prayed for speedy recovery of injured persons.

"Saddened at the loss of lives in Mumbai. Prayers for the injured to recover. Condolences to the families who lost loved ones," tweeted Banerjee, a former Railway Minister.
Uddhav Thackeray visits KEM Hospital, says what happened is bad
As his party Shiv Sena mounted a stinging attack on the government over the Mumbai railway foot-over-bridge tragedy today, Uddhav Thackeray visited the KEM hospital where bodies of the 22 deceased have been kept.

"Whatever happened is very bad...I will look into it," he said when a man persistently wanted him to do something following the tragedy.




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