It was a wake up call for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), who vacates three of their foot overbridges (FOB) ridden with hawkers and illegal shopkeepers. This initiative was taken a day after a part of the Santacruz FOB was found hanging dangerously over the tracks.
“We had to take stringent action against the hawkers by removing them from the Vile Parle, Andheri and Borivli FOBs. We carry out regular drives, but the Santacruz FOB incident was a severe one,” said Deputy Municipal Commissioner (Zone-III), Vikram Pawar of BMC.
The Western Railway (WR) went to the extent of shutting down two of their FOBs at Andheri and Borivli for public use as they felt that these were in an abysmal condition. “The two FOBs will remain shut till necessary repair work is completed,” said Western Railway (WR) chief PRO, S Gupta. There are 12 such FOBs and overhead water pipelines built over the tracks on WR.
Sources in the WR said that the condition of these FOBs is so terrible that they shake whenever a train passes. They also reportedly have holes on the surface.
“We realise that closing a FOB is a major inconvenience for the public. But if there is inaction on the BMC’s part, who have not given sufficient funds to start maintenance work, we are left with no other option but to close it,” said a WR official.
The railways and the BMC have been arguing over the deposit of funds required for maintaining these structures, which are more than 70 years old.
The WR said of the Rs 3.18 crore which the BMC is entitled to give for maintenance work, Rs 1.69 crore has still not been given to them. Also, the amount paid is for work other than that of FOBs.
But the BMC claimed it has paid Rs 1.47 crore for works on 10 FOBs and the payment for the Santacruz FOB was pending.
The Central Railway (CR), which has 18 FOBs built by the BMC might also take similar action.
“Inspection and maintenance of these FOBs are a continuous process. But if their condition is bad then we will have to take steps after discussions with the municipal corporations,” said S. Mudgerikar, chief PRO, CR.