Army called in to build Elphinstone bridge by January 31 as Railways, Defence Ministries team up

Dark Sorrow

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In a mega push for Railway safety, Indian Army will build Elphinstone bridge in Mumbai which was collapsed on September 28 killing 23 people. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today are visiting the stampede site. They are being accompanied by Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis. Earlier, on October 11, an inquiry report had blamed heavy rain for the tragedy. The panel, headed by the Western Railway chief security officer, submitted its report to WR General Manager Anil Kumar after recording statements of 30 commuters who were injured. Three rail bridges will be built by Army jawans, CM Fadnavis said.

Track here live updates of Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s visit to Elphinstone bridge site

2:13 PM: “None match BJP in rhetoric and dram,” says Shiv Sena leader Arvind Sawant.

2:08 PM: Shiv Sena leader Arvind Sawant lashed out at BJP over armed forces being called to construct 3 foot over bridges (FOBs) saying, “Did you get the meaning? They know that they can not construct the bridge.”

2:03 PM: 23 people were killed in a stampede on the Elphinstone Road station foot overbridge (FOB) last month.

2:00 PM: “The Army has always been steadfast in the provision of aid for disaster relief issues. This is the first time when we are actually calling Army to help us in what essentially could be called civil work in the financial capital city of the country,” Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

1:55 PM: The army conducted a feasibility study to assess whether they could complete the work and contribute to the process earlier this month,” Sitharaman said.

1:50 PM: CM Fadnavis said, “We have sought the help of Indian Defence forces in building the alternative bridge at the station. We will also make additional bridges at stations including Ambivali and Currey Road railway stations on the Central Railway in Mumbai in the same period.”

1:45 PM: Earlier in the day, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal along with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis reached Elphinstone Road station for a surprise inspection.

1:40 pm: Take a look at Captain Amarinder Singh

The @adgpi job is to train for war, not to be used for civilian works @nsitharaman ji. Don’t divert defence resources to civilian jobs(1/2).

— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) October 31, 2017

1:35 pm: Take a look at Omar Abdullah tweet

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. http://t.co/9e9hJOgDTY

— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) October 31, 2017

1:30 PM: Omar Abdullah, meanwhile, was more acerbic as he said the Army should have been the “last resort” to be called in “extreme emergency” and that ”now it seemed to be the Ist number on speed dial”.

1:25 PM: The two-time Punjab CM, a former Armyman himself, believes the Army’s job is to train for war and it is best to keep soldiers away from civilian works. The Caotain also urged Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to not divert defence resources to civilian works.

11:54 AM: The panel, headed by the Western Railway chief security officer, submitted its report to WR General Manager Anil Kumar after recording statements of 30 commuters who were injured. It has also examined video footage of the incident, officials said.

11:50 AM: On October 11, an inquiry report on the September 29 Elphinstone bridge stampede in Mumbai that killed 23 people has blamed heavy rain for the tragedy.

11:46 am: After 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.

11:43 AM: The Army will hep build a new foot overbridge at the Elphinstone Road station, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said as Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal visited the station, where a deadly stampede took place last month.

Watch this video

This is the first time we will ask army to come in to build what may otherwise be called civil work: Nirmala Sitharaman, Defence minister pic.twitter.com/oDDnT3yeaW

— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) October 31, 2017

11:39 AM: “I have been informed that the work on these bridges will be completed by January 31,” CM Fadnavis said.

11:37 AM: Bridges to be built in with cooperation with Army at Elphinstone Rd, Currey Road and Ambivali by January 31, 2018, says Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.

11:34 am: Fadnavis, who accompanied Defence minister Sitharaman and Railway Minister Goyal, said the Army will also help in building foot over bridges at two other stations in Mumbai.

11:31 AM: 23 people were killed in a stampede on the Elphinstone Road station foot overbridge (FOB) last month.

Watch this video

Rail safety push | We held meeting for two days after the Elphinstone stampede: Piyush Goyal, Railway Minister pic.twitter.com/aH2lAPjtoT

— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) October 31, 2017

11:27 AM: “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.

11:23 AM: Army has come and seen, inspected and assessed where the bridge is going to be built, they will be there at every stage of the work, says Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

11:20 AM: A call was taken to cooperate seeing urgency of the matter as Army has its role at the borders, says Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

11:17 AM: Probably 1st time asked Army to come in to build what could otherwise be called civil work, but Elphinstone tragedy was so big, says Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Watch this video

Probably first time asked Army to come in to build what could otherwise be called civil work,but Elphinstone tragedy was so big:Def Minister pic.twitter.com/fvgdA1fSQA

— News18 (@CNNnews18) October 31, 2017

11:14 AM: After Elphinstone stampede incident had asked for help from armed forces, and Defence Minister agreed, 3 bridges will be constructed by 31 January, says CM Devendra Fadnavis.

11:11 AM: The Elphinstone bridge to be rebuilt by January 31, 2018, says Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis.

11:08 AM: Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis also present at the site of Elphinstone stampede.

Watch this video

Rail Safety Push | Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, Railway Minister & Defence Minister arrive at the Elphinstone Station in Mumbai pic.twitter.com/ktPBd8H4pU

— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) October 31, 2017

11:05 AM: Railway Minister Piyush Goyal & Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman visit the site of Elphinstone stampede
 

Dark Sorrow

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Army engineers to build three commuter bridges in Mumbai

Mumbai, Oct 31:
The Maharashtra government has roped in the Indian Army to build three railway bridges, including the one at Elphinstone Road station in Mumbai region.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who visited Elphinstone Road station with Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, said on Tuesday that the new bridge would be constructed by Army Engineers and will be ready for use by end of February 2018.

The State government and the Railway Ministry had faced flak when a stampede on the foot overbridge at Elphinstone station on September 29, left 23 people dead.

‘Not army job’

A retired Indian Army officer with engineering background told BusinessLine that it is not the job of the army to build such bridges in peacetime. Army engineers have the expertise to build temporary bridges used for a short time for moving men and equipment. After a specific tactical objective is achieved, such bridges are dismantled.

But in Mumbai, the bridges have to last several decades. The building of such long-term infrastructures are not expected from Army Engineers, the retired officer said.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal thanked Defence Minister Sitharaman and the army for the help.

However, the move was also criticized on the social media. Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, who is a former army officer, said the army's job was to train for war, and not to be used for civilian works. Defence resources should not be used for civilian jobs, he Tweeted.
 

Dark Sorrow

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Indian Army to build foot-over bridge at Mumbai's Elphinstone Road station: Amarinder Singh, Omar Abdullah slam move

On Tuesday, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced that the army will help build a new foot overbridge at the Elphinstone Road station by 31 January. He was speaking in the presence of Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal who were also visiting the station, where a deadly stampede took place last month.

He added that the Army will also help in building foot overbridges at two other stations in Mumbai. Sitharaman said it was probably the "first time that the Army will come in to build in what could otherwise be called civil work".

The defence minister also said, "This is probably the first time we have asked the Army to come in to build what could otherwise be called a civil work, but Elphinstone tragedy was so big."

The involvement of the Army in bridge reconstuction work irked Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh who shot off a tweet saying that Army must train for war and not be used for civilian work.

The @adgpi job is to train for war, not to be used for civilian works @nsitharaman ji. Don’t divert defence resources to civilian jobs(1/2).

— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) October 31, 2017

Singh was hardly the only person who took issue with army's involvement as Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam questioned whether the army would next be called in to fill potholes.

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. https://t.co/9e9hJOgDTY

— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) October 31, 2017

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted that it seemed like army is now the first number on speed dial for emergencies.

Calling Army to make a bridge in Mumbai underlines failure of Corrupt #ShivSenaBJP ruled #BMC.Hope army wl not b asked to fill potholes here https://t.co/BKj5nwoCBH

— Sanjay Nirupam (@sanjaynirupam) October 31, 2017

23 people were killed, and dozens injured after a stampede ensued on a foot-over bridge during the early morning rush at Elphinstone Road station in September. The tragedy took place amid rain in the city when the foot-over bridge was heavily crowded. Police suspect a short-circuit with a loud sound near the foot-over bridge led to panic and people started running, resulting in the stampede.

After the stampede, 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.
 

Dark Sorrow

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Army to help build foot-over-bridge at Elphinstone station

MUMBAI: The Army will hep build a new foot overbridge at the Elphinstone Road station, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today said as Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal visited the station, where a deadly stampede took place last month.

Fadnavis, who accompanied Defence minister Sitharaman and Railway Minister Goyal, said the Army will also help in building foot overbridges at two other stations here.

23 people were killed in a stampede on the Elphinstone Road

Bridges to be built in with cooperation with Army at Elphinstone Rd, Currey Road & Ambivali by 31st Jan 2018 — ANI (@ani) 1509429859000


"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.
"I have been informed that the work on these bridges will be completed by January 31," he said.

After 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.
 

pmaitra

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There is a bridge called Iswargupta Setu on the Hooghly river. One section collapsed. This happened shortly before my visit to India. Very quickly, the local Councillor called the Army. Troops (likely from the 4 Engineer Regiment) came and put in a makeshift bridge, until that section was rebuilt.
 

rkhanna

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There is a bridge called Iswargupta Setu on the Hooghly river. One section collapsed. This happened shortly before my visit to India. Very quickly, the local Councillor called the Army. Troops (likely from the 4 Engineer Regiment) came and put in a makeshift bridge, until that secti
on was rebuilt.
not the same thing. One was an emergency the other is an infrastructure improvement.

Lately its become this new thing to use the military as political bus boys.
 

pmaitra

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not the same thing. One was an emergency the other is an infrastructure improvement.

Lately its become this new thing to use the military as political bus boys.
The military always helps. They don't act based on politics. They just help the people. Moreover, I mentioned this because this is the first time the military is building a permanent structure (Elphinstone). What I was talking about is a temporary measure.
 

rkhanna

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The military always helps. They don't act based on politics. They just help the people. Moreover, I mentioned this because this is the first time the military is building a permanent structure (Elphinstone). What I was talking about is a temporary measure.
Agree with what you are saying. But do know that the Army doesn't have a say in the matter. The Army is just an employee of the Government. Its the Civvies at MoD and PMO that make the call.

And i am not talking about helping of people - Natural Calamities, helping with wildlife, rescue at high altitude etc. (which is emergency response)

but stuff like this above - Its got to stop - its been happening too frequently lately. And guess what most of the $$ come out of MoD budget for this nonsense.
 

indus

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I m not happy with army being called in to build rly bridges. Its railway's responsibility. What s next...Thy will call BRO to build roads n highways too.
 

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WTF is going on? Next these fellows will ask the army to fill the potholes of Mumbai!

Where's the government machinery? Railways PWD? Lame excuse was the time taken by the government to approve tenders etc to construct the bridge . So why the heck can't they amend these British era rules to expedite the tendering process etc?

What's the next task for the army after probably filling potholes in Mumbai? Cleaning up the Ganga? I won't be surprised.
 

hit&run

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Not the first time Army is used. Army was used during Commonwealth games when a bridge could have been easily made before hand.
 

Dark Sorrow

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A lot of policies of these government are getting hay-wired.
 

sayareakd

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Army should focus on war fighting, if we use sword for cutting grass, when the time comes to use the sword it will be useless. Its not immediate necessity, that Army needs to be called in, they could get group of reliable private companies and ask them to make it fast enough, it could be done, that is what private companies do.

This shows that Railways was mishandled and they cant seems to do their job correctly, at this rate entire railways be given to Indian army, based on their accident track record.
 

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I think govt did this to avoid usual Endless Tender - Ghoos - Eternal Delay route. If there has been one failure of Modi Govt which is more glaring than anything else is that he has been unable to clamp down chaos in baburasik park for past 3+ years. Given this bridge is used by commuters in Mumbai, and general feeling mumbai populace is its foolish for Maharashtra Govt to spend so much on Bullet Train when they could have upgraded Mumbai Local infrastructure
 

captscooby81

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i seriously don't understand why so much hue and cry here about army building the bridge ..So people think if someone is capable to do it in shorter time they shouldn't do it because its not their actual job it was someone else job. Was 22 lives lost is not worth a timely action to build something ..Why army only has to build CW Games bridge does pride of hosting a game is more serious concern than people getting killed in stampede because of poor infrastructure ..

I am not in favor of Army taking lots of civil infrastructure projects but if they are the best to get the job done in short time period which is crucial to save lives like how their assistance in floods and natural disaster matters whats wrong in taking the same help in building this bridge ..its just politicised

By the way PLA also prepares to fight a war but they also contributed this much in their nation building


  • The PLA played a role in economic development practically from its inception. After 1949 the PLA became involved in economic reconstruction tasks--building railroads and factories, reclaiming wasteland, digging irrigation canals, establishing state farms, and participating in disaster relief operations. The PLA accepted its role as a force in economic construction and devoted segments of its structure, such as the Engineering Corps, Railway Engineering Corps, Capital Construction Engineering Corps, Signal Corps, and Production and Construction Corps, to building up the national infrastructure. However, PLA regional- and main-force units played a much smaller role in aiding the civilian economy.

    This pattern continued into the 1980s. The PLA participated in selective infrastructure development projects, and aided in disaster relief. From 1981 to 1985, the PLA contributed 110 million workdays to 44,500 construction projects, including the diversion of river water from the Luan He to Tianjin, construction of the Shengli oilfield in Shandong Province and the Huolinhe open-cut coal mine in Shaanxi Province, expansion of Zhanjiang port in Guangdong Province, and afforestation work involving the planting of 290 million trees.
 

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Not the first time Army is used. Army was used during Commonwealth games when a bridge could have been easily made before hand.
The army was asked to construct the collapsed bridge as it was an emergency situation. There were just a couple of days left for the Games to begin. An exceptional case. But now it's becoming the norm.
 

captscooby81

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Sir exactly for the same reason why i think the railway ministry has requested the MoD to evaluate the proposal as its an emergency situation and we never know when they next stampede will happen it doesn't need to rain to create such an incident ..I think this show the incompetency of the railways which is like time and again proving its neither profitable neither productive ..Plus this is also a slap in the face of those from railways that because of their lethargic work culture someone else has been given the task to build the bridge

The army was asked to construct the collapsed bridge as it was an emergency situation. There were just a couple of days left for the Games to begin. An exceptional case. But now it's becoming the norm.
 

hit&run

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The army was asked to construct the collapsed bridge as it was an emergency situation. There were just a couple of days left for the Games to begin. An exceptional case. But now it's becoming the norm.
Isn't this an emergency situation ? Actually I haven't followed the News but seems like there was an accident (I was off the grid, visiting India).
 

salute

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I think govt did this to avoid usual Endless Tender - Ghoos - Eternal Delay route. If there has been one failure of Modi Govt which is more glaring than anything else is that he has been unable to clamp down chaos in baburasik park for past 3+ years. Given this bridge is used by commuters in Mumbai, and general feeling mumbai populace is its foolish for Maharashtra Govt to spend so much on Bullet Train when they could have upgraded Mumbai Local infrastructure
maharashtra govt. spending on this project is 9.5 percent , maharashtra govt. is less interested at this project than gujarat govt . because areas of maharashtra covered by this route is presently negligible ,
but atleast that much of investment has to be done so that state would get industrial or technical and management experience of bullet train so that they could expand the route further to pune , nashik and nagpur and to other cities .
 

pmaitra

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The military always helps. They don't act based on politics. They just help the people. Moreover, I mentioned this because this is the first time the military is building a permanent structure (Elphinstone). What I was talking about is a temporary measure.
@rkhanna,

I was wrong.

The Army did build residential buildings once before. It was done on the orders of Lt. Gen. Kaul, the same person who was involved in the Sino-Indian War of 1962.
 

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