Railway Minister Piyush Goyal formed a high-powered committee today to look into the 18- month delay in issuing tender for a foot overbridge (FOB) at the Elphinstone Road station in Mumbai, where 23 people were killed in a stampede last month. The two-member committee would inquire why it had taken 18 months after the project was cleared to issue the tender, railway spokesperson Anil Saxena told PTI. The tender was incidentally floated on September 29 — the day 23 people were killed in the stampede on the existing decades-old foot overbridge. The panel will be headed by former Central Vigilance Commissioner Pratyush Sinha and Vinayak Chatterjee of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) will be its member. “The committee has been given three months to submit its report,” Saxena said. According to officials, the committee has also been asked to recommend ways to ensure that such delays do not occur again. The 40-foot-wide overbridge was announced in the 2016 Railway Budget and was part of the Rs 45 crore fund earmarked towards escalators, foot overbridges and automatic ticket vending machines for the Mumbai suburban section. Today, an inquiry into the stampede blamed heavy rain for the tragedy, the officials said.
Goyal, while speaking at an event in Delhi, said that he was pained that despite the new foot overbridge being already approved, the tender was not floated in time. “It pained me in Mumbai when I saw the file where a foot overbridge which was approved but it took months to finalise the design and prepare the documentation to tender it. It is a wake up call for all my colleagues in the railways. They will have to bring speed and efficiency into our system,” he said.