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It took loss of 23 lives to push Railways into action: Mumbai train commuters

A lot has changed for the daily commuters at Elphinstone Road, self-discipline being the most noticeable among them

mumbai Updated: Oct 07, 2017 01:04 IST
Eeshanpriya M S
Many things have changed for the better at the station this week, but frequent commuters feel sorry that it took the loss of 23 lives to push the Railways into action.
Many things have changed for the better at the station this week, but frequent commuters feel sorry that it took the loss of 23 lives to push the Railways into action. (HT)

The Elphinstone Road railway station was as crowded this Friday at 10.30am, as it was a week ago, when a stampede on the foot overbridge killed 23 people. However, this crowd comprised scores of Mumbaiites who had come to pay their respects to the victims.

A lot has changed for the daily commuters at Elphinstone Road, self-discipline being the most noticeable among them.

Sunil Gholap, a resident of the area, was one of the first people to rush to help victims during the stampede. He said, “There is a now a sense of fear among commuters. They don’t want a repeat of last Friday and they organise themselves into neat lines on the bridge. The crowd during peak hours has not reduced, but it seems like there are fewer commuters because of the lines.”

Many things have changed for the better at the station this week, but frequent commuters feel sorry that it took the loss of 23 lives to push the Railways into action. “All hawkers who crowded the foot overbridge were moved by the authorities. The narrow road leading to the bridge was also cleared of parked vehicles, so it’s wider now. Life is returning to normal, but we miss those who are not with us anymore. At least 20 policemen man the bridge through the day now,” said Gholap.

Aakash Kotecha, a lawyer at the High Court, who takes the 10.10am train to Churchgate daily, said, “When I was caught in the stampede, I kept thinking it won’t get worse if people stop pushing one another in a hurry. As much as we blame the railway administration, I want to tell people to be more organised and diligent. We have achieved that at the station now, but at a heavy price.”

Prasad Arolkar, who travels to Vidyavihar from Elphinstone daily, said, “I take the train as usual, and I always spare a moment to think about the victims. My parents are relieved that I escaped the stampede as I had left home earlier than usual that day. The tragedy hasn’t deterred my spirit.”