The Bombay high court on Monday directed the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to file an affidavit mentioning the action it proposes to take against the contractor of the Lalbaug flyover, in which purported structural defects were found barely five years after it was built.
“File an affidavit or ask a responsible officer to come to court on March 23,” the division bench of justice Abhay Oka and justice Anuja Prabhudessai told the MMRDA counsel.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by activist Bhagwanji Rahiyani, who raised questions about the safety of commuters on the 2.6-km flyover and the contract worth Rs12.46 crore for resurfacing the flyover, cleaning drainage lines, replacing pipes and marking roads, which he said was awarded without conducting a structural audit of the bridge first.
The PIL claimed work on the flyover was poor and a major disaster was imminent, if a complete overhaul was not undertaken after a structural audit.
Petitioner’s advocate Sumedha Rao said action must be taken against the contractor as the structural defects had cropped up barely five years after construction.
The MMRDA awarded a contract to construct part of the Metro line to the same contractor, he said.
The contractor’s lawyer, advocate Subodh Desai, pointed out that after the bridge was completed, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was supposed to appoint a separate contractor to maintain it, but this had not been done.
He said the default liability period – during which the contractor must repair any defect on the bridge – ended on December 14, 2016. The court posted the PIL for further hearing on Wednesday.