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Opp wants bullet train fund diverted to improve intrastructure, Commuters slam govt apathy

Friday September 29, 2017 6:28 PM, & Agencies

Elphinstone Accident

Even as the opposition parties, and also the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) ally Shiv Sena, demanded that the state government's funds to be used for bullet train should immediately be diverted to improve railway infrastructure, angry commuters slammed the government apathy after killing of 22 people in a stampede at Elphinstone station.

Calling the accident a massacre, Sena MP Sanjay Raut told PTI, "This incident is a public massacre for which the government and railways are responsible. We have time and again demanded that the old and dilapidated foot overbridges be redeveloped but no action has been taken yet."

"While the government has no time to rectify the shortcomings in the present rail system, it wants to bring in bullet trains," he added.

Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil of the Congress said he had written to the railway ministry last year seeking a meeting of public representatives with the railway minister to solve the issue of overcrowding at stations in Mumbai.

"This incident should be treated as a case of murder.

An FIR under IPC section 302 (murder) should be lodged against railway officials," the senior Congress leader said.

"Had the administration worked towards providing basic facilities to commuters, instead of renaming the railway station (Elphinstone) as Prabhadevi, so many lives would not have been lost," Vikhe-Patil added.

Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde said the government, instead of bringing in bullet trains at this stage, should focus on developing stations and improving passenger safety.

"The Maharashtra government will give Rs 5,000 crore for the bullet train project. Instead, this money should be immediately provided for the development of railway stations in Mumbai," the NCP leader said.

Meanwhile, angy commuters slammed the government apathy and said the railways was forewarned about the decaying status of the bridge but despite warnings it did not take any remedial measure.

Some Mumbaikars said government wants them to report issues on Twitter but doesn't act when they do.

A 2016 Twitter message accompanied by a photo of the overcrowded bridge has also resurfaced on the social media site. Prime Minister Modi and then Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu were also tagged in the message.

No action was taken of these warnings and what was forewarned in advance happened today morning at 10:30 am killing at least 22 people and injuring over 30.


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