Finally, WR-MCA agree to rebuild Churchgate-Wankhede FOBs at the cost of ₹17.40 cr
Mumbai: After almost three years, Western Railway and the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) have agreed to rebuild the two foot over bridges (FOB) that connects Churchgate to Wankhede Stadium at the cost of ₹17
Mumbai: After almost three years, Western Railway and the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) have agreed to rebuild the two foot over bridges (FOB) that connects Churchgate to Wankhede Stadium at the cost of ₹17.40 crores.
While MCA will bear the cost, WR will look after the construction part. According to sources, the decision was taken after a meeting between officials from Western Railway and MCA secretary Ajinkya Naik on Thursday.
Confirming the development, Western Railway’s chief public relations officer Sumit Thakur said, “It was closed after recommendation from authorities. Western Railway had given MCA an estimate of ₹17.40 crore. The two parties have agreed. We’ll see what happens now.”
When asked about the time it will take to build the FOBs, Thakur added, “Right now we have just given the estimate. The tender process will start only after we receive the funds from MCA. Work will start only after the tender is approved, only then we will know how long it will take.”
The two FOBs, north and south, were deemed unsafe after an inspection by IIT engineers in 2019. The two FOBs had been put out of use in May 2020. The last time Wankhede used the FOBs for spectators was on January 14 for the ODI between India and Australia.
According to an MCA official, these FOBs are crucial for spectator entry during matches hosted by the MCA. “The FOBs lead to Wankhede’s North Stand (Sunil Gavaskar Stand and Vittal Divecha Stand). Entry from Churchgate was convenient for the spectators. After its closure, it has not only put load on other entry points, the spectators too have to take a long walk to get to their seats,” the official said.
With a number of tournaments lined up, like the Indian Premier League and the World Cup in particular, it is not clear whether the spectators would get relief anytime soon.
A survey of all bridges across the city was conducted after one outside CSMT collapsed leaving six people dead and 30 others injured. This led to a massive repair or replace drive of ageing bridges across Mumbai.
It was during this survey the Churchgate-Wankhede FOBs were designated “dangerous”. With WR running out of funds, there was tussle between railway authorities and MCA on who would bear the repair or replace expenses.
MCA had already spent around ₹2 crores on its repairs before it was finally closed down.
Meanwhile, repeated calls and a message to MCA secretary Naik went unanswered.