The Western Railways has made the highest budget allocation for foot over-bridges in railway stations after the gruesome stampede accident at Elphinstone Railway Station last year. A massive amount of Rs 880 crore have been set aside for construction of bridges and provide amenities to commuters at railway stations.
The distant Elphinstone Railway Station of Mumbai witnessed the horror of stampede that had killed 22 people had lost their lives – just because of the congestion and insufficient commutation facilities. People lost their lives, being crushed between human crowd and railings at the railway station at Elphinstone Road. The incident showed how railway stations in India, especially in Mumbai, are turning into death traps for the mass number of commuters; and the need of better infrastructure and crowd management strategies at the heavily crowded railway stations. After this incident, the Railways Ministry had ensured taking appropriate steps towards developing infrastructure, so that such incidents never happen in future. And here it is.
Keeping the promise, the Railways has been allotted highest budget amount for construction of infrastructure, suitable for crowds. The demand for grants for both the Central Railway (CR) and Western Railway (WR), released Tuesday, allocated Rs 880 crore to construct bridges and provide amenities for commuters. Both CR and WR will begin construction of bridges within financial year 2018-19 in Mumbai division – the place with highest rush of commuters in India. The Central Railway has received Rs 450 crore for constructing 42 bridges for the zones (21 for Mumbai suburban) and the Western Railway has received Rs 430 crore for 43 bridges.
Upon allocation of a generous budget, Western Railways GM A K Gupta said, “Earlier, we used to get about Rs 30-40 crore for bridges. We have got Rs 430 crore. We have received more than expected amount for adding amenities. In the earlier budgets, we would not receive allocation for bridges at certain railway stations. Now it is upon us to decide how many bridges could be constructed”. Besides building foot over-bridges, the fund will also be used to renovate old bridges, increase height of platforms and add shelter over platforms in suburban Mumbai. There will also an upgrade in passenger amenities, which include upgrading stations with toilets, lifts, escalators and other facilities.