The Bombay high court on Thursday directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner to find out, by appointing a senior officer, whether any lapses have been committed in construction of the Lalbaug flyover, and take appropriate action, if he finds any lapses having been committed by the contractor.
The division bench of justices Abhay Oka and Anuja Prabhudessai also directed the state government to consider appointing a panel of experts to go into the issue as to why the flyover deteriorated within five years of its construction, so that guidelines can be laid down for flyovers and bridges to be constructed in future.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by activist Bhagwanji Raiyani, who raised questions about the safety of commuters using the 2.6-km flyover and the contract worth Rs12.46 crore for resurfacing the flyover, cleaning drainage lines, replacing old drainage pipes and creating road markings. According to the petitioner, the contract was awarded without conducting a structural audit of the bridge, as ordered by the high court in earlier round of litigation.
Raiyani has further claimed that work on the flyover was of poor quality because of which a major disaster was imminent if a complete overhaul was not undertaken after a proper structural audit.
In the earlier hearing, the petitioner’s lawyer, advocate Sumedha Rao expressed the necessity of taking action against the contractor of the flyover for purportedly carrying out faulty construction work, as several defects had cropped up barely five years after its construction.
The contractor’s lawyer, advocate Subodh Desai, however, maintained that the civic body was supposed to appoint a regular maintenance contractor for the flyover, which has not been done and the bridge has not at all been maintained during this period.
The court has now directed BMC to ensure that the work under the Rs12.46 crore contract is completed by May 31, and also the work of structural repairs is commenced under supervision of the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, by June 2017 and completed within six months thereafter.