Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday said that the Army’s engineering wing will help build a new foot over-bridge (FOB) at the Elphinstone railway station.

Maharshtra CM made the announcement after he, along with Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, visited the railway station on Tuesday.

Earlier on 29 September, 23 people died in a stampede at Elphinstone railway station’s foot over-bridge in Mumbai.

“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 media at the venue.

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

According to media reports, Fadnavis said, additional bridges at stations including Ambivali and Currey Road railway stations on the Central Railway in Mumbai will be built as well.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sithraman said that it is a nation-building exercise and the nation is grateful that Army has accepted to build the FOB, which is usually a civil engineering project. She also commended the efforts and aid provided by the armed forces during disasters.

Earlier, Mumbai BJP President Ashish Shelar had met Sitharaman and Goyal seeking the expertise of Army engineers who are known to make durable bridges fast in critical locations.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal shared a message on social media “thanking” the Army for their initiatives.

“After the discussion with BJP Mumbai president Ashish Shelar on October 6, we have decided to utilise military precision to work on completing the work of bridges. These three bridges at these stations have been specifically identified as they record higher footfall,” added Railway Minister Goyal.

Clarifying the role of military, Western Railway Divisional Manager Mukul Jain said, “The bridge will be a new one, independent of the one being planned and constructed by the railways. It will be located towards the Parel side at the northern end of Elphinstone Road station.” He added that an Army team will identify the location and submit its foot over-bridge designs to the railways before proceeding with the work.

According to Jain, this is the first time such a civilian contract would be handled by the Indian Army, which is known to have vast engineering expertise.

After the stampede on 29 September, railway officials deployed police personnel to manage the crowd at busy platforms, evicted hawkers from suburban train stations and started speeding up infrastructure projects on suburban network.

(With agency inputs)