Not Excuse But Inherited Big Problems, Says Railways Minister: 10 Facts

NEW DELHI:  Badgered by the opposition for yesterday's Mumbai stampede that cost 23 lives, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal today turned the railways' approach towards foot overbridges - as he called it - on its head, opened the purse strings gave senior officials a free hand to spend on safety-related aspects and vowed to get escalators installed at crowded Mumbai suburban stations and beyond. But after spending over eight hours at meetings with top railway and state officials, the railway minister promised things would improve but attempted to keep expectations at a realistic level. "It is not an excuse but problems in Indian Railways aren't one or two years old. They accumulated over the years and were given to us in 2014 as inheritance," Mr Goyal said.

 

 

Following are the top 10 developments in this story:
  1. "We are turning a 150-year-old convention on its head, hereafter, FOBs (Foot Over Bridges) will be deemed mandatory not a passenger amenity," Mr Goyal tweeted.

 

 

  1. He added that to eliminate bureaucracy and delays, he has "empowered GMs to spend whatever is necessary on safety."

 

 

  1. The minister also said that additional escalators have been sanctioned at crowded Mumbai suburban stations and after that for all high traffic stations.

 

 

  1. 200 officers will be relocated from the Railway Head Quarters as field staff to strengthen ground operations and project implementation, the minister said.

 

 

  1. Mr Goyal, who is live-tweeting the decisions taken at the meeting, also posted "To enhance safety and efficiency, 40 yards across India will be upgraded with an investment of Rs. 1,000 crore including 8 yards in Mumbai region."

 

 

  1. Yesterday, after the stampede, Mr Goyal had asked officials to identify critical locations prone to similar tragedies. This also means that the safety audit shouldn't just look at structural stability of the bridges but also assess if it was enough for the number of passengers that it catered to.

 

 

  1. Mr Goyal also gave officials one week to resolve any pending issues with other government agencies that have stalled projects and escalate problems that they aren't able to resolve, telling them that projects could not be kept perpetually hanging due to differences between government departments.

 

 

  1. The stampede broke out around 10.30 am on Friday on the British-era narrow bridge which connects the busy Elphinstone Road and Parel train stations. There were more than the usual people on the bridge at the time, waiting for the rain to end. Then, four trains came at the same time.

 

 

  1. Due to the rain, a few commuters slipped, which led to the stampede. There were also rumours that the bridge - that commuters said shakes every time a train passes - is falling.

 

 

  1. 22 people had died and over 30 were injured in the stampede yesterday. Today, another person died in hospital due to the injuries sustained during the stampede, taking the death toll to 23.

 

 

 

 

 

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