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Elphinstone bridge re-built by army: Capt. Amarinder Singh, Omar Abdullah criticise

Elphinstone bridge re-built by army: Capt. Amarinder Singh, Omar Abdullah criticise

| @indiablooms | 31 Oct 2017, 07:54 pm

Mumbai, Oct 31 (IBNS): Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, on Tuesday criticised the central government's move to re-build Mumbai's Elphinstone bridge, where at least 23 people died in a stampede which occurred in late September.

The announcement has been made on Tuesday after a surprise visit by railway minister Piyush Goyal, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman along with Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Criticising the Centre's decision, Captain Amarinder said on Twitter that army, who are trained for fighting in wars, should not be used for civilian works.

"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.." he tweeted.

"You’re doing what General Kaul did with the 4th Div before 1962 war with China. It will set a very bad precedent. Pls avoid" the Punjab CM added in a follow up tweet.

Apart from the Punjab CM, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah too disapproved the idea of the government.
Abdullah tweeted to say: "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."

Speaking to reporters, Goyal said the Army has agreed to help in rebuilding the foot overbridge. The project will be completed by January 31, 2018.

Goyal also said two other foot overbridges in Mumbai have been identified for rebuilding.

"The work will be taken up on war footing and will be executed with military precision," he said.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who had discussed the issue with  Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, said, “Army has come and inspected and assessed where the bridge is going to be built. They will be there at every stage of the work."

"This is probably first time the Army to come in to build what could otherwise be called civil work," she added.

Several daily commuters died after they were trapped at the railway station and the footbridge as disturbing footage of bodies on the bridge, some against the railing, left everyone shocked.

The incident sent a shock wave across the country. Maharashtra Nava Nirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray, while leading a demonstration against what he called "apathetic attitude" of the Railways authorities, threatened to stall PM Narendra Modi's dream project for Bullet train unless the century-old footbridge   is rebuilt to accommodate the increased volume of daily commuters.

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