Mumbai: The Army will help build a new foot overbridge at the Elphinstone Road station here by January 31, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday said as Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal visited the station, where a deadly stampede took place last month.
Fadnavis, who accompanied defense minister Sitharaman and railway minister Goyal, said the Army will also help in building foot overbridges at two other stations here.
Sitharaman said it was probably the "first time that the Army will come in to build in what could otherwise be called civil work" to avoid recurrence of the unfortunate accident in the city, which gives jobs to millions.
Twenty-three people were killed in a stampede on the crowded foot overbridge (FOB) at the Elphinstone Road station here last month.
Speaking to reporters at the venue, Fadnavis said, "We are taking the Army's help in building a new FOB at the Elphinstone Road station and at two other suburban train stations in Mumbai."
"I have been informed that the work on these bridges will be completed by January 31," he said.
Sitharaman said, "This is probably the first time we have asked the Army to come in to build what could otherwise be called a civil work, but Elphinstone tragedy was so big."
"A call was taken to cooperate seeing the urgency of the matter as the Army has its role at the borders. The Army has come and seen, inspected and assessed where the bridge is going to be built, they will be there at every stage of the work," she said.
The bridges will be built with the Army's help at Elphinstone Road, Currey Road and Ambivili stations, Fadnavis said.
"Following the stampede, I discussed this issue (of building bridges) with Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar who took it up with Goyalji and Sitharamanji. We discussed that if the bridge was to be built in normal course, then it would take a long time and if this task is to be given to the Army, which has a vast expertise to do such a work quickly," Fadnavis said.
"Subsequently, the railway minister and the defense minister along with their senior officials held deliberations and decided the Army will erect the three railway bridges," he said.
Fadnavis, who completes three years as the chief minister of Maharashtra on Tuesday, also expressed his government's gratitude to the defense ministry and the railway ministry to come forward to erect the FOBs expeditiously.
At the venue, Goyal said, "Army officers along with senior railway officials have done survey at these stations and have given an assurance to erect the FOBs at these stations by the end of January 2018."
Sitharaman said, "We all know that during natural disaster or calamities, our Army chips in to provide relief to needy people. But this is the first time when our forces are extending their support to avoid the recurrence of the unfortunate accident in the city, which gives jobs to millions."
After the stampede on September 29, railway officials posted police personnel to manage the crowd on busy platforms, evicted hawkers from suburban train stations and started speeding up infrastructure projects on suburban network.
Goyal had earlier this month announced a slew of measures for the safety of commuters with a focus on foot overbridges (FOBs) in the country.
He had said the FOBs would now be "mandatory" at all stations. Previously, only the first FOB at a railway station was considered essential and the subsequent a passenger amenity.