Sonia expresses grief over Mumbai stampede, terms it man-made disaster

Elphinstone Stampede All Suburban Stations Will Be Inspected In 7 Days Says Piyush Goyal

In a shocking incident, atleast 15 people have lost their lives with almost 20 commuters seriously injured in a stampede on Friday morning, that took place at a foot over bridge at Mumbai's Elphinstone railway station near Lower Parel.

"Chaos ensued when the downpour stopped as people rushed to go out and a stampede occurred", A Saxena, director-general (PR), Railways, told reporters.

While Maharashtra government announced comoensation of Rs. 05 lakh to the kin of those killed in the tragedy, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has ordered a high-level enquiry headed by the Chief Safety Officer of the Western Railways.

"But due to slow progress of work and criminal negligence of the railway authorities no concrete action was taken", she said.

More details are awaited.

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However, neither the police nor the PRO of the railway station could explain the reason behind the stampede. The stampede broke out at 10:30 am (0500 GMT) near a ticket window on the bridge that connects the Elphinstone and Parel stations in south Mumbai. While the people were stuck trying to descend, since it was peak hour, a lot of people were trying to get to the station using the staircase and started walking over those trapped. They were waiting for the rain to stop.

Skyscrapers have replaced the erstwhile mills in the neighbourhood of Elphinstone Road, Parel and Mahalaxmi and this should have been reason enough for the government to upgrade the station, said historian Deepak Rao.

The cause of the stampede on a bridge at the city's central Elphinstone station during the rainstorm was being investigated, a police official at the accident site said. "A lot of people were falling on top of each other, after which some of our neighbours ran to help and pulled out several bodies", said 17-year-old Sneha Gaikwad, a colony resident.

The initial pathetic official response by the railways minister of state that the structure was okay but that the stampede was due to the heavy rain will only reassure those who, like India's ministers and elected representatives, no longer have to use public transport.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet expressed sympathies with the families of those killed and assured all possible assistance. Many people gave solutions.

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