Raj Thackeray: Unless Mumbai local fixed, no bullet train
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray threatened the government's ambitious Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train by saying that "until the present infrastructure of local railways is made better, not a single brick will be allowed to be placed for bullet train in Mumbai." Yesterday, a stampede on the overbridge linking Mumbai's Elphinstone Road and Parel railway stations claimed 22 lives and left about 32 injured.
Raj criticized RM Piyush Goyal as being "good for nothing," and said there was no need to change "good" Suresh Prabhu "just for bullet train project." He said Mumbai has experienced rains before so 'the authorities can't blame rains for the disaster'. He likened Railways to terrorists; he further asserted that Pakistan says terrorists are not needed as "railways is enough to kill people."
Raj warned illegal hawkers on the railway stations to clear out or else they will be moved out in 'MNS style'. He said that unless "outsiders don't stop" entering the city, "such incidents may continue to occur." Meanwhile, he will lead a Morcha to Western railway HQ on 5th October and provide the railways a "list of issues" to be addressed within a deadline.
RM Goyal has convened a meeting of the Railway board to discuss the problems plaguing Mumbai locals. They have decided to speed up the widening of footover bridges (FOB), conduct audits "to identify vulnerable issues," construct additional FOBs among other things. He also announced Rs. 5L for family of deceased, Rs. 1L for those grievously injured and Rs. 50,000 for those with minor injuries.
Critical decisions are being taken to ensure safety of Mumbai railway passengers. Sharing some decisions from yesterday's meeting. pic.twitter.com/zIfA4ZeUSW— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) September 30, 2017
As an aside, KEM hospital, which tended to the victims, is receiving flak after they numbered the dead bodies on the forehead and took their pictures for public display. Officials said measure was taken for victims' "speedy, honorable and smooth identification" and to "avoid chaos."