Union Railway Minister wants railway to learn from Army

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Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal wants railway engineers from the 17 Indian railway zones to visit Mumbai to see the work done by the Indian Army in the construction of Foot-Over-Bridges (FOB) at Elphinstone stations Road, Currey Road and Ambivili. The minister wants railway engineers to learn how to carry out work in crisis situations and with time constraints.

“I have ordered the railway staff, especially from the engineering department of the 17 zones of the Indian Railways, to learn to work in difficult circumstances, and I asked them to visit the three sites and learn from it once the work on FOB is ready.” said Goyal.

The minister said this after inspecting the work on the bridge that the Army is building on Elphinstone Road, after the stampede on a FOB at the station. Goyal said the reason he involved the Army is because he wanted to show railway engineers how to deal with emergency situations.

“The railroads depend on the contractors, since they do not have their own workforce, unlike the Army,” Goyal added.

The FOBs at all three locations are expected to be ready before the January 31 deadline. The Army is expected to begin work on Elphinstone to expand the FOB that connects the Parel and Elphinstone Road stations by December 5, when the beams enter and are stored in the Kalyan shed. Working on a totally new 12 meter wide FOB that connects the two stations will also start soon, for which the bidding and design work will be complete.

Meanwhile, an additional stairway is already underway at the FOB on Elphinstone Road, in which 23 people lost their lives. They have placed a sheet of metal on which the stairs will be built. “It will be expanded and it will be ready by December 31,” said Ravinder Bhakar, chief PRO, Western Railway.

The reservations office elevated there will also be demolished. Of the five ticket windows, four have been closed, three ATVMs have been enabled and then porta booths have been assigned for the issuance of local train tickets.

The Army has assigned a platoon, composed of 50 army men, to each of the three stations of Elphinstone Road, Currey Road and Ambivali to carry out the construction work. On Currey Road, there is a 180 square meter plot that belongs to a private owner who has not transferred it to the Army, BMC or Railways to carry out the work in the FOB. The cost of this land is around Rs 4 crore, which will be given to the private company that owns it.

Goyal, who visited the Elphinstone Road and Currey Road stations on Monday afternoon, asked authorities to purchase an MHADA building outside the Currey Road station so that the plot can be taken for the FOB landing to be built. The minister also wants the Railways and BMC to connect the FOBs with the gateways for faster access.