Bridge collapses near Mumbai’s Andheri station, local train services hit
Railway minister Piyush Goyal said railway services will be restored completely by Tuesday night. He also assured ad hoc compensation of Rs 1 lakh to each of the five injured in the incident.Updated: Jul 03, 2018 18:20 IST
A portion of an overbridge collapsed due to heavy rain at Mumbai’s Andheri station on Tuesday morning, hitting suburban local train services in the city and leaving thousands of commuters stranded.
A Western Railway spokesman said five people were injured in the accident, and had to be admitted to the Cooper hospital in Juhu. Two of them reportedly suffered critical injuries.
The bridge is part of the Gokhale bridge on SV Road that connects Andheri West to East. Railway officials said the collapse damaged the overhead wire structures, hampering train services on the western and suburban lines.
Railway minister Piyush Goyal, who rushed to scene after the accident, said that local train services will be restored completely by Tuesday night. He also assured ad hoc compensation of Rs 1 lakh to each of the five injured, besides free medical treatment by the Railways.
“It’s an unfortunate incident, and I have ordered an inquiry into this. The commissioner of rail safety will come up with a report in 15 days,” said Goyal.
The railway minister said around 700 employees of the Railways, aided actively by experts from Delhi and Lucknow, were working on restoration work. He also stated that the Railways, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and the IIT-Mumbai will conduct a joint safety audit of all the 445 road overbridges, foot overbridges and similar structures over the next six months in order to ensure commuter safety in the future.
‘Loud bang, sparks’
Eyewitnesses reported hearing a loud bang followed by sparks in wires hanging from the bridge.
Nishit Sariya, an executive in a private financial firm said: “Few minutes after the train pulled out of the station we heard a big bang and the train came to an abrupt halt. Passengers panicked and jumped on the tracks. We saw part of the bridge had collapsed and overhead wire was sparking. We had a close shave.”
Railway minister Piyush Goyal tweeted that he had ordered an enquiry into the mishap. The minister also said that he had directed officials to speed up repair work and quickly restore rail traffic.
A 40-member NDRF team was pressed into service for rescue work. The debris was removed manually as machines could not be deployed at the site. By late afternoon, railway officials could be seen carrying out restoration work on the tracks.
An official from Disaster Management Unit told PTI that it seemed incessant rain had caused cracks in the foot overbridge, which later resulted in the collapse. “Thankfully, no train was passing beneath the track,” he added.
Thousands of commuters were stranded in the trains and at railway stations. Many had to walk some distance to catch other means of transport.
“Our train was stuck at Jogeshwari station for about 30 minutes before the train crew made an announcement about the mishap. I walked to the highway where I somehow managed to catch an auto,” said Rutu Charan, a Jogeshwari resident.
Chaos at stations
Heavy rush and chaos was reported from several stations. The Central Railways (CR) opened extra counters at Dadar and Ghatkopar to cope with the rush.
“Crowd management machinery has been strengthened at all major stations from Ghatkopar onwards,” said Sunil Udasi, chief public relations officer of the Central Railways.
Meanwhile, waterlogging was reported from several parts of the city resulting in traffic jams. The famed dabba dabbawalas suspended all their tiffin box deliveries on the WR routes.
Mumbai, which experienced heavy rainfall overnight, is in for more showers in the next 48 hours. “Heavy rain is expected to continue for Mumbai and surrounding areas for 48 hours (from Tuesday morning),” KS Hosalikar, India Meteorological Department director general (western region), said.
Rahul slams state government
The assurances given by Goyal and the Mumbai administration failed to convince Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who maintained that the rains had exposed the “collapse of civic governance” in the city. Slamming the BJP-led Maharashtra government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, Rahul tweeted: “The streets are flooded, citizens stranded, bridges collapsing.....Civic governance has collapsed. My thoughts are with the citizens of Mumbai. Stay safe!”