Railway Minister Piyush Goyal visits Mumbai’s Parel station, checks progress of FoB works

The Railways fast-tracked construction of infrastructure after 23 commuters were killed in stampede on the Elphinstone Road FoB on September 29

MUMBAI: A day before the Union budget, including that of the Railways, is presented to Parliament, railway minister Piyush Goyal made an unscheduled visit to Parel railway station on Wednesday to check on how a foot overbridge (FoB) being built by the Army was progressing.

Goyal travelled from Sion to Parel station by a local train. During the inspection, he gave the Railway administration instructions regarding the FoB and how to improve infrastructure at the two stations. He said the Railway should build elevated decks as one of several measures to ensure the smooth movement of commuters at the Parel and Elphinstone Road stations.

The Railways has fast-tracked construction of improved infrastructure at both stations after 23 commuters were killed in stampede on the Elphinstone Road FoB on September 29.

Goyal said he was sceptical of whether commuters would use the Fob, as it is being built at the Dadar end of the station, while most offices are located at the Lower Parel end. Railway officials said the FoB would cater to commuters heading towards the flower market on the west side those travelling through Senapati Bapat Marg on the Tulsi Pipe Road.

Goyal said the Army would help show the Railway administration how to complete its projects. “The Railways have constructed three FoBs on the Central and two on the Western Railway much before the deadline. This was why I brought in the Army. Other zones should learn from them,” he said.

Army officials at the Parel station said it would take them two to three weeks to complete work on the Elphinstone Road portion of the bridge.Goyal then said the bridges were likely to be inaugurated together. “Work on the Ambivli FoB has been completed. The other two FoBs will also be ready soon. I will find a Mumbaikar to inaugurate all three,” Goyal told.

Walking on the Parel station platform, Goyal directed Central Railway officials to beautify ceilings and immediately remove structures such as water vending machines and food stalls to create more space for passengers. He said the staircase at Parel station was in a “pathetic state”, adding that the uneven space between steps could cause passengers to trip and fall.

He also directed Railways officials to set up escalators and elevators on both stations for the benefit of commuters.

During his visit, Goyal asked railway police force (RPF) officials to let them walk alongside him and to not bar their path. “The next time I visit, I do not want any police officials. I am a normal person, let the commuters walk alongside me,” he said.