Elphinstone Road stampede: Several other Mumbai foot overbdriges are death traps for commuters
Most of the foot overbridges in the city are too narrow and crowded most of the time, according to commuters.mumbai Updated: Oct 01, 2017 08:32 IST
The common foot overbridge (FOB) between Parel and Elphinstone Road railway station, where 23 people were killed in a stampede on Friday, is not the only one in the city where a fatality is a possibility during all rush hours.
According to Mumbaiites, there are several such bridges that are death traps for commuters. There are 243 FOBs on the city’s suburban railway network, comprising 134 bridges on the Western Railway (WR) and 109 on the Central Railway (CR). Most of them are too narrow and crowded most of the time, according to commuters.
The bridge linking Elphinstone and Parel was always seen as the most vulnerable to a stampede, for the past many decades.
Another two stations in Central Mumbai — Chinchpokali and Currey Road — are similarly vulnerable. The north-end FOB at Currey Road is barely a metre wide and according to commuters, a scary experience during peak hours and festive seasons.
“Currey Road is a crowded residential area. Several people working in the neighbouring Lower Parel area that has seen complete transformation into a business hub, also use this station. Hence, the station has seen a huge rise in daily users,” said Salman Ansari, a commuter.
Several passengers feel that the south-end bridge in Dadar is equally dangerous owing to overcrowding and hawkers.
“I feel very unsafe when I access this FOB, especially when Dadar-bound trains arrive at platform number one. The FOB becomes jam-packed as alighted commuters try to climb up and from the opposite direction, others rush to catch the trains,” said Ravindra Gadhav, a commuter.
The end points of the stairs of both the north and south-end railway FOBs at Kurla are also massively overcrowded. “You just get dragged away, cramped with the crowd. There is no other alternative,” said a passenger.
The north-end FOB at Bandra is linked to the skywalk, compounding the problem of overcrowding,
At Kalyan , the railways have connected two FOBs, but most passengers find the steep steps difficult to use. Railway sources said that several passengers have fractured their limbs by falling from those steps.
According to commuters, the north-end FOB at Wadala, the north-end one at Virar, south-end FOB of Charni Road and the Borivli and Thane station FOBs are a too dangerous to use.
Meanwhile, in a high-level meeting called in the wake of the tragedy, authorities have decided to give ‘mandatory’ status to FOB instead of ‘passenger amenity’.