FOBs mandatory, surveillance to be stepped up: Goyal

RSTV Bureau

 A day after a stampede on a foot overbridge (FOB) linking two suburban railway stations claimed 23 lives here, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal today said FOBs, earlier considered only a “passenger amenity”, would now be a “mandatory” aspect of all the railway stations in the country.

Mumbai: People look on at the site of a stampede that broke out on the Elphinstone Railway Station bridge in Mumbai on Friday. PTI Photo

Mumbai: People look on at the site of a stampede that broke out on the Elphinstone Railway Station bridge in Mumbai on Friday. PTI Photo

The announcement came after marathon meetings held by the minister with senior railway board officials since yesterday.

“We are turning a 150-year-old convention on its head, hereafter, FOBs (Foot Over Bridges) will be deemed mandatory not a passenger amenity (sic),” Goyal had tweeted earlier.

Earlier, only the first FOB at a station was considered “essential” and the subsequent ones “passenger amenity”.

In a statement released after a high-level meeting today, the railways also said in order to enhance its monitoring mechanism, CCTV cameras would be installed in all the suburban trains in Mumbai within 15 months and subsequently, across the country.

For checking delays in execution of projects and red- tapism, Goyal has decided to empower the general managers (GMs) of the railway zones to spend money on measures to ensure passengers’ safety, the statement said.

The minister has also fixed a timeline to address the safety issues — the GMs shall intimate the financial commissioners (FCs) within a week of sanction of funds for a project and the FCs shall confirm the same within 15 days.

In case of a disagreement, the matter shall be referred to the Railway Board for a final decision, which has to come within the same 15 days.

“Plan to be drawn up for all Mumbai suburban stations to upgrade electronic surveillance (CCTV) system in a time bound manner, besides, issues pending with other agencies like BMC, MMRDA, CIDCO, State Government, etc. should be resolved in a week’s time (sic),” Goyal had tweeted while the meeting was on.

Earlier, the railway minister had said multi-disciplinary audit teams would inspect all the Mumbai suburban stations within a week and identify the areas of concern.

The statement also said the ministry sanctioned additional escalators at the Mumbai suburban stations with a high footfall and added that the details of the project would be finalised within 15 days.

A similar exercise would be carried out at all the “high-use” stations of the country subsequently, it added.

“200 officers to be relocated from the headquarters into the field to strengthen ground operations and project implementation. Delegation of financial and administration powers to the field units by October, 2017 to reduce red tape and push development and delivery,” the statement said.