MNS chief Raj Thackeray today threatened the ambitious bullet train project of the Modi Government by saying that he will not allow a single brick to be placed until the current infrastructure is improved. “Until the present infrastructure of local railways is made better, not a single brick will be allowed to be placed for bullet train in Mumbai, ” he was quoted saying by ANI. Hitting out at the Railways for yesterday’s stampede at the Elphinstone road station, Thackeray said, “It was not the first time that it rained in Mumbai. They (Railways) say it happened due to rains.” In a hard-hitting statement, the MNS chief said, “List of issues related to Mumbai Local will be given to Railway on 5 October with a deadline. If things don’t get better, will see to it.”
Taking another dig at the government, the MNS chief asked, “Why do we need terrorists or enemies like Pakistan? it seems our own Railway is enough to kill people.” He further said that a deadline will be given to throw out illegal hawkers from station bridges, if it is not complied with then MNS will act on its own. Thackeray revealed that he will lead a Morcha to Western railway HQ at Churchgate and ask them questions about their infrastructure.
Yesterday, the deadly Mumbai stampede which took place on the foot overbridge linking Elphinstone Road and Parel suburban railway stations extinguished at least 22 lives and left 39 others injured. One lakh commuters take the footbridge every day. Purushottam Karad, Deputy Commissioner of Police for the Western Region, said, “Heavy rainfall accompanied by an immense crowd on the bridge caused the incident. Crowd entering the station and exiting got locked on the staircase. It is an unusual incident,” as per Indian Express.
According to survivors, two rumours started to circulate that led to panic. First, was about the short circuit, while another was created by the persons, who were in a hurry to get off the bridge, saying that the bridge would collapse.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal directed the chief railway safety officer of the Western Railway to initiate an inquiry into the incident. “Wherever there is a need for foot over bridges to be widened, we will do it immediately on high priority, ” Goyal said.