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Elphinstone station stampede: never again

In solidarity: People take part in a candlelight vigil in memory of those who lost their lives in the stampede, at the Elphinstone Road station foot-overbridge.

In solidarity: People take part in a candlelight vigil in memory of those who lost their lives in the stampede, at the Elphinstone Road station foot-overbridge.   | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

The tragedy of Elphinstone Road station is still fresh in our minds. Unsurprisingly, there has been widespread condemnation of the circumstances that permitted it — no, made it practically inevitable — and the demands, for better infrastructure, wiser planning, a more humane city, have been loud and heartfelt.

The problems that beset that part of the city were not created overnight, and the solutions, some of them long-ignored, require time and money to implement. For some solutions it is, perhaps, too late: can one demolish glass towers that cost billions of rupees to build to create more open spaces and thoroughfares? And there’s this: the Elphinstone Road pedestrian bridge wasn’t the only tragedy waiting to happen.

In this overcrowded city, there are many other ‘funnels’ through which vast numbers of people must pass every day, just to get to work, to school, to shop. Every one of them could be a sad headline any time now.

The Hindu spoke to a few experts and laid this proposition out to them. We’re overcrowded. Our infrastructure is straining at the seams. Reform, town planning, legislating repair and change: all these things take time.  What can we do, right now, as cheaply as possible, to prevent another day like September 29?

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