A month after the Elphinstone stampede tragedy in Mumbai that claimed 23 lives and left several injured, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis went to inspect the site accompanied by Railway minister Piyush Goyal and Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman. It was announced that the army has agreed to help rebuild the foot overbridge at the station where the stampede took place.
CM Fadnavis said, "We are taking the Army's help in building a new FOB at the Elphinstone Road station and at two other suburban train stations (Currey Road in Central railway and Ambivali Road Bridge in Thane). I have been informed that the work on these bridges will be completed by January 31."
Sitharaman said, "This is probably the first time we have asked the Army to come in to build what could otherwise be called a civil work, but Elphinstone tragedy was so big. A call was taken to cooperate seeing the urgency of the matter as the Army has its role at the borders. The Army has come and seen, inspected and assessed where the bridge is going to be built, they will be there at every stage of the work"
The decision, however, did not go well with angered civilians who slammed the move questioning why defence resources were being used for civilian works.
Its pathetic that you have to call in Army to make an over bridge ! When all the system fails, your babudom fails, you call in Army ! https://t.co/FqxWvyozUg
— revathi (@jayarevathi) October 31, 2017
— Girish Shinde (@GirishShinde2) October 31, 2017
Indian Army to rebuild Elphistone station bridge. Just terrible. Army jawans are not made to construct, build roads, bridges.
— jatindesai (@jatindes) October 31, 2017
Why army?? Are civic authorities not capable enough to make a foot over bridge. Army has much more imp tasks which needs attention
— Tushar Gupta (@tushargupta21) October 31, 2017
Few opposition leaders too jumped in to voice their criticism against the move.
— Sanjay Nirupam (@sanjaynirupam) October 31, 2017
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) October 31, 2017
The army was to be a measure of last resort to be called upon in extreme emergency. Now it seems like it’s the 1st number on the speed dial. https://t.co/9e9hJOgDTY
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) October 31, 2017
The Army will rebuild bridges at 3 stations and this work will be finished by the end of January. Despite several red flags on the structural weakness of the bridge that were ignored, the official probe went on to the blame the rains for the overcrowding and the stampede.
— Rajeev Chandrasekhar (@rajeev_mp) October 31, 2017