Mumbai was hit by a terrible tragedy yesterday, where 22 lives were lost following a stampede at Elphinstone Station. The stampede which took place at a foot overbridge that connects Elphinstone to Parel injured nearly 40 people. The bridge is used by a large number of commuters to get to their workplaces on a daily basis. What led to the stampede this Friday? There have been numerous reasons cited for it. Some said it was because of the rains, some said it was because of an electric spark, some said it was because of the ill-constructed bridge and most blame it on poor crowd-control.
Mumbai’s rail network handles 75 lakh commuters each day. And according to the railway data, 348 people died on the Central line while 323 persons died after falling off trains on the Western line this year till June.
So when you use the Mumbai locals, you not only buy a ticket and ensure that your bag is locked away from pick-pocketers, but you must also be equipped with additional strength and determination to be able to fight your way through the crowd. And it is this added ‘fight’ of each individual that helps you get to work each day. It is this ‘fight’ that is celebrated as the city’s ‘spirit’. A spirit of never stopping, never sleeping, never ceasing to give the other a chance to bypass you. And it is perhaps this very spirit that led to the tragedy this Friday.
What is even more surprising, is the fact that many commuters had put forth their concerns regarding the over-crowding at the bridge way before the tragedy struck Mumbai. Here are some cautionary tweets posted by a citizens, just a couple of days before the incident took place:
— rashmi (@TweetsOfRashmi) 21 November 2016
A large scale stampede is waiting to happen at the Parel station unless the stairs to the elphinstone side is widened. #mumbailocal
— Diwakar Pingle (@djpingle) 30 October 2014
Pre-rush hour Parel station. The only staircase which people use to exit and enter the station. A major accident is waiting to happen. pic.twitter.com/FWMrTboh4a
— MANJUL (@MANJULtoons) 1 February 2017
But as usual these concerns fell on deaf ears. All our politicians could do thereafter was, condone the incident.
My thoughts & prayers are with families who lost their dear ones in the Mumbai’s Elphinstone rly. station stampede. I pray for the injured.— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) 29 September 2017
My heartfelt condolences to the families of the bereaved. I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured persons.
— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) 29 September 2017
Reports also suggest that former railway minister, Suresh Prabhu had allegedly approved a proposal for the construction of a wider bridge at Elphinstone station. But, even as leaders continue to politicise the issue, all that had been done for the station before this, was to rename it to ‘Prabhadevi’.
Anguished by the loss of lives in the stampede in Mumbai. Condolences to the bereaved families; prayers with injured — #PresidentKovind
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) 29 September 2017