Mumbai : Commuters refused to pull the chain to stop the train even as Neha Gupta was screaming in pain after slipping between the footboard and the platform while hopping into a local train at Elphinstone Road station on Friday afternoon.
Neha’s classmate, Aradhana Gupta (19), who was travelling with her, said commuters did not pull the emergency chain despite her desperate pleadings. “They said that pulling the chain would not help my friend, it would only stall the train. I was told to get off at the next station and go back for my friend,” Aradhana said.
Aradhana too was doing a summer job in the same firm as Neha. Talking of the accident, she said, “When we got down from the stairs we saw the train come in and since the ladies’ compartment was too far we thought of getting into the general, I entered the compartment ahead of Neha,”
Aradhana said that she turned around when she heard a screams and realised that Neha had slipped into the two-foot gap between the footboard and the platform. The train started just when Neha was about to board it.
Recalling the exact moment she realised her friend was under the train Aradhana said, “It happened so fast and I started screaming and begging the men in the compartment to pull the emergency chain, I didn’t know if I should get off the train or stay on it.”
“The men told me that I should wait it out and get down at Dadar, when I realised no one was doing anything, I myself started towards the chain and all the men started yelling at me and asked me to get down at Dadar because they said the train would be stalled for a long time if I pulled the chain,” added Aradhana.
Aradhana got down at Dadar and caught a train back to Churchgate. She said, “When I got down at Elphinstone I was told Neha was taken outside, they were trying to hail a cab for her, because the ambulance would have taken too long,” said Aradhana.
Goyal Gupta, who is a Chartered Accountant, cousin of Neha said, “We do not want any compensation, but Neha’s future is big question mark.”
“We don’t how to go about it but we want to request the Railways if they can give her a job,” added Gupta.
Neha herself was not in a condition to talk on Monday although a few of her friends other than Aradhana were trying to cheer her up.
Western Railway (WR) Divisional Railway Manager, Sandeep Silas, said, “It is too premature to say anything right now about giving Neha a job.” He added that they could consider it if she cleared the exams.
When asked about why the gap between the footboard and the train is so steep and why the platforms have not been raised, Silas said, “Two years ago there were changes made and the platform height was to be raised to 920 mm, right now there are 32 stations that are below 760 mm and are on our critical priority.”
Elphinstone Road lies in the second priority list because it is more than 760 mm but less than 840 mm. Unlike the stations like Marine lines, Charni Road, Parel, Dadar, Matunga, Mahim, Vile Parle and Andheri to name a few that come under the 32 high priority list.
“We have bumped up the Elphinstone to the high priority list now, we had already diverted all our maintenance fund of Rs 14 crore to raising the height of platforms and we need additional Rs 7 crore for the second priority stations like Elphinstone,” added Silas.