The numbers were also minimised thanks to the quick reflexes of motorman Chandrashekhar Sawant.
MUMBAI: The pedestrian pathway of Gokhale Bridge, a road overbridge (ROB), crashed at a time when no trains were passing below it, thereby minimising the number of casualties. The numbers were also minimised thanks to the quick reflexes of motorman Chandrashekhar Sawant.
Sawant, a motorman, who was operating a Borivali-Churchgate train, showed his presence of mind and applied the emergency brake, averting what could have led to a bigger tragedy. Sawant was in his cabin, 60 metres away from the spot when a part of the pathway collapsed. He saw it just in time to apply the emergency brake.
Union railway minister Piyush Goyal announced a cash reward of Rs 5 lakh to him for showing his ‘presence of mind’.
The injured persons will be given ex-gratia of Rs 1 lakh. Also, according to officials and locals, the pedestrian traffic on the bridge was less at that time due to a nakabandi by the police.
The railway minister said that the motorman Mr Chand-rashekar Sawant acted quickly and halted the train and averted a big accident.
“We have decided to award him. He will be given an award of Rs 5 lakh by the railways. He did a good job and served the country,” he added.
The injured will be given Rs 1 lakh and are being treated at Nanavati and Cooper Hospitals. All medical expenditures will be borne by the Railways.
Speaking with The Asian Age, Chandrashekar Sawant, the motorman, who was driving the Churchgate-bound train, which originates from Borivali at 7.06 am, said, “As I saw a portion of the bridge collapsing, I immediately applied the emergency brakes. Meanwhile, the entire portion had collapsed.”
He also said that as the train had just departed from Andheri station the falling debris was just 60 metres away. If Mr Sawant had not applied the brakes, the train would have crossed the bridge within five seconds, leading to a big accident.
“The motorman took a wise decision. Passengers felt a small jerk, but nobody was injured,” said a Government Railway Police (GRP) official, who was present at the spot.
The official added, “The passengers were later asked to deboard, and walk towards the platform.”