No sign of new foot overbridge at Pune railway station even after Mumbai tragedy
The main foot overbridge (FOB) at the Pune junction, built in 1856 and extended in 1926, sees an average of one lakh of commuters using it per day. This FOB begins at the main entrance and is the only FOB connecting the six platforms, as well as to the exit on the rear end of the station, near the Raja Rao Bahadur Mills road.pune Updated: Oct 02, 2017 16:58 IST
Even as concerns are being raised by commuters about the chaotic situation on the existing pedestrian bridge at Pune railway station, particularly against the backdrop of the tragedy at Elphinstone railway station, there are no signs that a new bridge will be ready soon.
According to railway officials, the new foot overbridge (FOB) being constructed on the Raja Bahadur Mill road side will be ready only by the next financial year, as lack of funds has delayed the work.
According to the Railway Construction Department, the new bridge will be parallel to the old bridge and six metres wide.
The stampede at the FOB at Elphinstone station in Mumbai on Friday claimed 23 lives and injured 38. Following the tragedy, commuters in Pune also raised their concerned about the bridge.
The main foot overbridge (FOB) at the Pune junction, built in 1856 and extended in 1926, sees an average of one lakh of commuters using it per day. This FOB begins at the main entrance and is the only FOB connecting the six platforms, as well as to the exit on the rear end of the station, near the Raja Rao Bahadur Mills road.
The Pune junction has 160 regular trains, as well as weekly trains arriving and departing throughout the day.
To help facilitate commuters, the Railways built two FOBS - one (connecting parcel office on platform number one to all the stations, 10 metres wide) in 2007 and the other, in 2015 (connecting platform number one to platform number two and three, 10 metres wide), but both remain under-utilised.
“People should use all the three FOBs. We find that a lot of people tend to wait on the old FOB, some even squat with their luggage which causes maximum crowd on the bridge. We have observed that during the 3.30 pm to 7 pm slot, there is a lot of crowd, so as a precautionary measure, we have two railway protection force personnel (RPF) who make sure that no one waits on the bridge,” public relations officer, (Pune division), Manoj Jhawar, says.
He adds, “We frequently announce about the other FOBs and we have indicators showing where these FOBs are. We already have a plan and we have installed CCTVs in 2015 where the RPF man these operations, carefully, round the clock. We have RPF constables who control the crowd as well. One of the links of the CCTV is also monitored by the additional divisional regional manager, who is well aware of what is happening on the platforms.”
A new ‘Skywalk’ will also be built to connect the existing three FOBs. “We are also planning to build a new escalator leading to the new FOB on the Raja Rao Bahadur Mills side, near the divisional manager’s office. Also platform numbers two, three, four, five and six will also soon see a new elevator in place in next seven months. We understand that senior citizens find it difficult to walk the length of the railway platform and we intend to make it more commuter friendly,” Jhawar says.