The Indian Army has been roped in to build new foot-over bridges at Elphinstone Road and two others stations, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Tuesday.
The decision comes in the wake of the Elphinstone tragedy, in which 23 people had died following a stampede at the FOB connecting Elphinstone Road and Parel stations on September 29.
The CM visited the station earlier today with Union Defence Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.
While speaking to the media, Fadnavis said the Army will help in building foot overbridges at Curry Road and Ambivali stations as well.
“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,” Fadnavis told reporters at the venue.
The CM added that the Army was in a position to build the bridges in a short span. “I have been informed that the work on these bridges will be completed by January 31,” he said.
The Army had reportedly surveyed the area earlier this month.
While the Armed forces have been asked to help with ‘urgent’ construction work in the past, the decision to rope them in for building a bridge in Mumbai has drawn sharp criticism form some politicos, who have termed it unnecessary.
“The army was to be a measure of last resort to be called upon in extreme emergency. Now it seems like it’s the 1st number on the speed dial,” said former J&K CM Omar Abdullah.
Sitharaman, however, defended the decision, stating that it was the need of the hour.
“We know that the Army rushes to places affected by natural disasters. This may be the first time the Army was asked to come in to build what could otherwise be called civil work, but the Elphinstone tragedy was so big,” she told reporters, adding that the forces were happy to help.
Following 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.
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#ElphinstoneBridge work to be completed by January 2018.
Apart from Elphinstone, Curry Road, Ambivali foot over bridges will also be constructed by the Indian Army: CM @Dev_Fadnavis informs while speaking to media #MajhaSarkar pic.twitter.com/xVfFEMr18w
— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) October 31, 2017