MUMBAI: India’s railways minister Saturday told station managers “to spend whatever is necessary” to ensure passenger safety as the death toll from a stampede on a railway footbridge in Mumbai rose to 23, reports AFP.
Railway officials said the accident happened after hundreds of people took shelter Friday on the station footbridge to escape a heavy downpour.
Most of those killed were crushed to death, some suffocated and others fell from the narrow bridge. Around three dozen injured were also rushed to nearby hospitals.
The accident has raised new safety questions about one of the world’s biggest rail networks, which is struggling to upgrade infrastructure and safety after a series of deadly crashes in recent years. Railways Minister Piyush Goyal Saturday announced steps to assess and improve safety on the Mumbai suburban network, which carries millions of people around the country’s financial hub every day. Goyal said all Mumbai stations would be inspected within a week and new footbridges were being approved for overcrowded stations.
“To eliminate bureaucracy and delays, I have empowered GMs (general managers) to spend whatever is necessary on safety,” he said on Twitter.
“Additional escalators sanctioned at crowded Mumbai suburban stations and thereafter for all high traffic stations,” the minister said after chairing a meeting of top railway department officials.