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Criticising the railways for "criminal negligence" resulting in the death of at least 22 persons in a foot overbridge stampede in Mumbai, the Congress on Friday advised Prime Minister Narendra Modi to "change the railways face and not ministers".
"We would like to tell the Prime Minister that you can't placate the public by just changing railway ministers. If you have to change anything, change the railways' face," Congress Spokesperson and Lok Sabha MP Sushmita Dev said.
"This is a huge dereliction of duty by the Prime Minister," she added.
At least 22 commuters were killed and much more injured in a stampede on a narrow railway foot overbridge connecting the Parel-Elphinstone Road stations of Western Railway in Mumbai on Friday morning. The death count is feared to go up.
"Time and again, the commuters have complained about the safety of this foot overbridge. Even the Central Railway in 2015 had accepted that this heritage bridge linking Parel and Elphinstone Road stations was 'structurally weak' and had decided to direct the footfall to the other bridge that connects Dadar to Parel by extending it to the eastern end of Parel as a temporary measure," Dev said.
"But due to slow progress of work and criminal negligence of the railway authorities, no concrete action was taken," she added.
The Congress demanded a judicial inquiry into the incident and asked the government to raise the compensation amount to "at least Rs 50 lakh" from Rs 5 lakh announced by the government.