Mumbai: At least 22 people died and 39 others were injured, one of them critically, in a stampede at the Parel-Elphinstone foot-over-bridge (FoB) at around 10.30 am on Friday. According to eyewitnesses, the stampede was triggered by rumours of the FoB collapsing, a short-circuit and broken stairs, at a time when approximately 9,000 commuters were present on the bridge.
Last year, Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant even wrote to Mr Prabhu calling for repairs on the bridge. Replying to his letter, Mr Prabhu had given his assurance that the FoB would be extended and widened and even sanctioned Rs 11.86 crore for the same. But to date, no tenders have been floated for the project.
In the meantime, Mr Suresh Prabhu’s successor, Mr Piyush Goyal called for a high-level inquiry into the incident.
Meanwhile, one of those 9,000 people trapped on the FoB during the incident on Friday was Akash Kotecha, a lawyer who was lucky to survive the stampede after someone broke the bars of the stairs and pulled him out. He is grateful that he survived and feels that the rush was the same as everyday, but rumour mongering led to the tragedy. “The rush on Friday morning was similar to what we see almost every weekday. But today, the fact the rains had slowed down the crowd and there were all kinds of rumours floating around, created panic among those who were on the foot-over-bridge,” he said. The first rumour was about a short circuit, Kotecha added. “After that, we heard another rumour at the Elphinstone end of the bridge, that it had collapsed and six people had died,” he said....