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Mumbai Stampede: 22 commuters killed on Parel-Elphinstone Road Over Bridge

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A man cries after seeing dead body of his family, who died in the Mumbai stampede
A man cries after seeing dead body of his family, who died in the Mumbai stampede accident. ians

Mumbai, Sep 29: In a Dussehra-eve tragedy, at least 22 commuters were killed in a stampede on a narrow railway footover bridge connecting the Parel-Elphinstone Road stations of Western Railway here on Friday morning, officials said.

At least 32 others were injured, many critically, and casualty figures could go up, the Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corp (BMC) Disaster Control said after the morning peak hour tragedy.

Among the dead were 18 males and four females while 23 men and nine women were injured and undergoing treatment, a BMC official said.

The victims were rushed to the KEM Hospital in Parel. A Railway Board official in New Delhi announced a probe into the incident.

The exact cause of the stampede was not known but witnesses claimed that a sudden rumour of a suspected electrical short-circuit triggered a panic run.

Officials, however, blamed it on overcrowding on the footover bridge due to torrential rains as people took shelter there.

The crowds increased as many more attempted to enter the bridge — for shelter and going over to the other side.

Before rescue teams arrived, cab drivers and others helped shift the injured in taxis and on two-wheelers.

The Maharashtra government announced compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the families of the dead and free medical treatment to the injured.

“We have ordered a probe into the circumstances leading to the massive tragedy,” Maharashtra Education Minister Vinod Tawde said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolences to the distraught families.

The tragedy occurred as Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, who took charge earlier this month, reached Mumbai to launch scores of new suburban train services for Western Railway and Central Railway as well as the Harbour Line.

Following the incident, Goyal cancelled his inauguration plans.

In a sharp reaction, the Shiv Sena demanded the resignation of Goyal, adequate compensation for all the victims and prioritizing immediate measures for ensuring safety and security of Mumbai commuters.

Mumbai Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, who visited the scene, said it was the responsibility of the Western Railway authorities to ensure commuters’ safety.

The festival-eve calamity sparked off angry reactions on social media, with many questioning lapses vis-a-vis safety and security of commuters even as mega-projects like Bullet Trains are announced with fanfare. (IANS)

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Visited by over 2 Million Tourists annually, Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) in Mumbai declared as Eco-Sensitive Zone

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Entrance of Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Wikimedia

Mumbai, Dec 6, 2016: The Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), located in north Mumbai and southern Thane, has been declared an “Eco-Sensitive Zone”, an official announcement said.

The ESZ will cover 59.46 square km of which 19.23 square km is lush forest land and the rest a non-forested area, according to the final notification of Union Environment Ministry.

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However, an area of 1.65 sq. km land for the Mumbai Metro Rail shed has been excluded from the notification issued on Monday.

The ESZ will have a minimum extent of 100 metres and maximum upto four kms from the SGNP’s boundaries, and would serve as a buffer to further protect the already-protected area of the park.

Considering the large population of leopards in SGNP, the central government has also suggested that in the housing complexes in its vicinity, a high wall with fencing may be erected to avoid man-animal conflicts.

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The move follows a draft notification issued in January 2016 seeking views from various individuals and groups from the ecological and environmental point of view to regulate developmental activities around the SGNP.

However, due to the unique location of SGNP within a bustling mega-city, any new construction within ESZ will be as per the laws of the Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation, Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act and ESZ provisions.

The SGNP spread across three districts – Mumbai Suburban, Thane and Palghar over an area of 104 square kms- is home to several species of flora and fauna, including around 800 species of flowering plants, 45 species of mammals, 43 species of reptiles, 38 species of snakes, 12 species of amphibians, 300 species of birds, 150 species of butterflies, including the world’s biggest, the Atlas Moth.

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The important animals living here include leopards, wild boars, four-horned antelopes, black-naped hare, wild cats, jackals, porcupines, Indian cobras, vipers, and birds like lesser grebe, purple heron, pariah kite, among others.

The area, housing a tiger and lion safari, the origins of Mumbai’s only river, the Mithi, and the 2,400-year old Kanheri Caves complex, is visited by over two million tourists annually. (IANS)