The Mumbai’s tragic Elphinestone foot over bridge tragedy that killed 23 commuters and grievously injured 35 is still hunting one and all and fortunately the Indian Railways has finally tightened its belt to ensure that such disasters do not recur in the near future. What’s sad about the whole development is – had the authorities concerned heeded to the repeated complaints of the commuters, this awful tragedy would have been avoided and the precious lives of the people could have been saved.
The moot question is why is it that the authorities wake up only after tragedies occur and subsequent outrage and not before things take such a tragic turn. Indian railways is one of the biggest railway network in the world ferrying several crores passengers to and fro and carrying lacs of tons of material from Kashmir to Kanya kumari on daily basis with Mumbai suburban trains fecilitating 8 million passengers daily thus being the lifeline of 20 million people.
This is not the first tragedy that has occured in the context of Foot over bridge disaster but in September 1992 too in Jogeshwari footover bridge tragedy several lives were lost but unfortunately governments changed but the railways did not learn any concrete lesson. Thankfully, in these days of excessive media blitz and awareness tragedies are unambiguously coming to the fore with more concern and emphasis, compelling the authorities concerned to gear themselves up and become answerable to the people and the fourth estate of the country.
It’s really shocking and anguishing to note that finally after so much of casualties in the recent train accidents compounded with the Elphinestone tragedy the railway authorities have finally woken up with the rail minister allocating a whopping budget of one thousand crores to be expeditiously spend on the remodelling process of the forty railway yards that also include 8 yards of Mumbai including fitting up of close circuit television cameras. The minister has in order to clear the usual bureaucratic hurdles given discretionery powers to all the general managers to spend as much money they can but the defamed railways should be completely rid of accidents and tragedies.
In the urgently convened meetings with the top officials of the railway board in the pivotal present of the turnaround officer, the most efficient and the capable chairman Ashwani Lohani the minister Piyush Goyal declared that henceforth the government will bring all footover bridges and platforms within a mandatory safety plans with no budget restrictions .
Goyal added that the railways are now turning the hundred and fifty years convention on its head and therefore from now onwards FOB’s would be deemed mandatory not the passenger amneties as used to be earlier. The track record of both Piyush Goyal and Ashwani Lohani have been outstanding as both of them are not only highly energetic and people friendly but belive in cooperative endeavor and team spirit.
Let’s see how expeditiously do both of them come true to peoples’ expectations. In addition to all this the deceased and those injured should also be handsomely compensated financially including a job in railways to the next of the kin.