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THE STAMPEDE

16-elphinstone-road-3Time- 10:30 am. Place- Mumbai
You are leaving for your office bidding goodbye to your parents, your spouse, and your kids. Your mom wants to discuss something and you say you would talk about it when you return. You promise the little ones to get them chocolates or sweets when you return in the evening and leave to get the ever crowded Mumbai local train to the office. Sounds like a normal day? But what if you do not return in the evening?

This is exactly what happened at Elphinstone station at 10:45 am on 29th September 2017. A rumor led to a stampede killing around 22 people and injuring 27. The only fault of these people was that they were trying to survive in this ‘City of dreams’ by reaching their respective offices in the immensely crowded trains and stations. Who is to be held responsible for the unfinished conversations, the unkept promises? Are 5 lakh Rupees enough to compensate for the dismay in those waiting eyes?

elphinstone-mumbai-victim-2

I am not in favor of any political party neither am I against any. All I am asking for is the basic infrastructure which would ensure safe travel of commoners to their workplace and back home. Am I asking for a lot?
I am not against the bullet train either. Of course the nation needs to be progressive and I am super proud of the initiative as an Indian. But at the same time incidences like these shake the faith in the very basic foundation. The local trains which are termed as the “lifeline” of Mumbai are delayed almost every day. The delayed trains lead to overcrowding. I do not deny the fact that Mumbai is a crowded city but the current infrastructure is inadequate to accommodate even the minimum residents. I understand that the space is insufficient here but we need to think of alternatives as it is going to be worse in the near future.

Though I agree that the current infrastructure is inadequate, what did we, as regular travelers do in the disastrous situation? Where was our humanity when we stamped the dying or the dead to save ourselves? And that too for what? A rumor which we did not even bother to verify once? We wanted to save ourselves from getting wet in the rains when others were dying just a few meters away. Has Mumbai, the city renowned for standing together in the worst of times, become so insensitive? Didn’t we even once think about the families of the dying whom we stamped? We have definitely progressed technologically but as human beings, maybe we are degrading. May be we need be a bit more rational and sensitive, a bit more human, in such situations of distress.

Also I would like to request the government as well as private businesses to not have such stringent work timings. Try to have flexible work timings. It’s okay if someone reaches the workplace 15 minutes late than having ‘late’ before his/her name. Please think about this before making policies.

I would conclude saying that lets keep the spirit Mumbai. Let us be as sensitive and human as we were during all the severe natural calamities we faced over the years. Let us stand together and support each other in such difficult times as we always have. The government, at the same time, should understand that Mumbai won’t always be tolerant and move on so easily.

I offer sincere prayers for the souls of the deceased in the incident and condolences to their families.

14 thoughts on “THE STAMPEDE”

  1. It’s some what because of the poor infrastrucrure and office timings. But the actual reason is impatient crowd. People just don’t bother for eachother. They just want to rush and grab a seat in the train not allowing others to alight from the train first, creating a whole unhealthy situation for everyone. They want to rush to their places as they are the only one who wants to reach early. If the authority could make some arrangements to eridicate such illeterate people’s act. There would be a lot of ease in travelling and safety for everyone.

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    1. I think its a major population issue which is hovering the country for decades and need drastic steps to get it in control. Whoever call its a strength. I think we need to educate the masses its an alarm.

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      1. I totally agree with you Rahul. Certainly we need to take steps to control the population but it would be a slow process. Also we need adequate infrastructure to accommodate the existing population.. Thank you for reading… Good to see so many people analysing a particular situation trying to find a way out..

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  2. Very sad incident indeed.So many reactions obviously including cancellation of bullet train .How about having different 5 days working flexibility , postponement of bullet train by atleast 5 years,such n some more like shifting offices in Marathwada,vidarbha districts,habit of giving extra time to commute in such sensitive areas.

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    1. Thank you for reading the blog Sanjay. I totally agree with you on the 5 days working flexibility. We also can have ‘work from home’ especially in the IT industry. Postponement of bullet train project won’t be of much advantage as per me. Maintenance of the regular infrastructure has to be done regularly. As for relocating the businesses, it would be a long debate as it includes various aspects in terms of availability of resources.

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  3. Nicely written article with some actionable suggestions, especially a call for flexible office timings.
    However, I beg to differ on a couple of points. While it is good ethics to call for more empathy from people in general, in extreme situations a call for empathy from people is equivalent to living on a utopian society. It just doesn’t work. Imagine how we would react if someone has pointed a gun right on our head. The answer is – we don’t know. It’s impossible for a crowd to verify anything in real time. People would tend to think selfishly in those moments and justifiably so.
    The real issue is the broken infrastructure, lack of planning, poor execution and government apathy for decades. In this instance, the people had done more than their part by reporting the issue and a possibility of a stampede a year or more in advance!! The red tape and the lackadaisical attitude of government made it impossible to do an arguably simple job of widening the bridge. They failed to deliver, as they have been failing since decades. It took many collapsed bridges, and thousands of deaths to raise a strong voice, but it still doesn’t seem to be enough to get the folks in action. And, frankly, if so much outrage doesn’t get them to act, I don’t know what will. The people of this country have been hurting for ages, and they still don’t demand a flashy fully automated, ultrasafe comprehensive transportation reform. All they want is widening and repairs of a few bridges here and there. Is that too much to ask!

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    1. Yes Vipul.. Thank you for reading the blog and I am glad to come across so many ‘humans’.Though I agree that the infrastructure is weak and needs severe attention as mentioned in my blog, people have a tendency to spread and get carried away with the rumors. I have personally been part of such a chaotic situation at chembur station a few years ago. A simple electricity failure at the station for a few minutes led to rise of multiple rumors saying the train had caught fire and people started running haywire. Instead of following the crowd, me and a few fellow passengers checked if anything had really happened and there was absolutely nothing.
      As for the automated transport facilities, would need significant time for a large country, in terms of both area and population. But yes basic infrastructure is what we deserve for sure.

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  4. Blog was nice but Indian people doesn’t have patience they are more dependent on goverment we neglecting our duties always blame to government no one ask him abt his duties because he is common man who is responsible for rush in Mumbai goverment or insensitive people .people making videos of that situation no one is come to rescue people they waiting for government useless people

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    1. Thank you for reading the blog Harshad.. Of course we need to have more patience and be more sensitive… There are certain issues where the government needs to focus as well.. Hope they will soon take care of these issues..

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