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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Forget Shivaji memorial, use funds to fix Mumbai’s train service, says online petition, gathers support

The petition, filed after the Elphinstone Road stampede, has gone viral, garnered the support of 25,000 people in three days

mumbai Updated: Oct 03, 2017 14:36 IST
Kailash Korde
Kailash Korde
Hindustan Times
Police officers try to control the crowd after the stampede at Elphinstone Road station in Mumbai on September 29.
Police officers try to control the crowd after the stampede at Elphinstone Road station in Mumbai on September 29.(Satish Bate/HT Photo)

An online petition demanding that the Rs 3,600 crore to be spent on constructing a Shivaji memorial in the Arabian Sea should be used instead to improve Mumbai’s local train services has received the support of 25,000 people in just three days.

The petition has gone viral on social media in the aftermath of the Elphinstone Road stampede, which claimed 23 lives last week. Vipin Vijayan, who filed the petition, has addressed it to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis, among others.

“The government always points to the paucity of funds when we talk about fixing the railways in Mumbai. Then we see Rs 3,600 crore being allocated to make a memorial in the Arabian sea, which is as good as flushing that much money down the drain,” the petition reads.

Suggesting that upgradation of the suburban rail network would be a much better use of the money, the petition says it would save people’s lives. “I am so sure that if Shivaji Maharaj was alive today, even he wouldn’t have wanted a memorial when people are losing lives,” it states.

Following the stampede on September 29, many online petitions have also been filed opposing the bullet train project and suggesting that the authorities prioritise resources to upgrade Mumbai’s over-burdened rail network. One such petition, filed by a Class 12 student Shreya Chavan to the PM that says we don’t need bullet trains, just better railways, has garnered 12,000 signatures.

These online petitions and the volume of support they are receiving reinforce the anger and frustration among Mumbai’s citizens over the stampede, which was primarily the result of the shoddy state of the suburban rail infrastructure that is used by over 80 lakh commuters every day.

First Published: Oct 03, 2017 14:36 IST