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6 dead, 33 injured as foot overbridge collapses near Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai

Mumbai foot overbridge collapses: The six who died include two female nurses from Gokuldas Tejpal Hospital, both of who were heading to work for the night shift.

india Updated: Mar 15, 2019 08:14 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Fire brigade and disaster management officials are at the spot and rescue operations are underway.
Fire brigade and disaster management officials are at the spot and rescue operations are underway. (Bhushan Koyande/HT)
         

At least six people were killed and 32 injured after a section of a crowded pedestrian bridge connected to Mumbai’s busy Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) collapsed during evening rush hour on Thursday, triggering a political blame-game and spotlighting the crumbling state of public infrastructure in India’s financial capital.

Police said chunks of concrete from the bridge came crashing down on the arterial Dadabhai Naoroji Road in south Mumbai around 7.35 pm.

The bridge connected CST’s suburban platform No. 1 with BT Lane near The Times of India Building and the Anjuman-e-Islam School, and was used by thousands of daily commuters rushing to catch local trains on Central Railway and the Harbour Line.

This was the second major bridge collapse in Mumbai in nine months. On July 3, 2018, a pedestrian pathway of Gokhale Bridge over Andheri railway station in suburban Mumbai gave way, killing two people and injuring five others. And, on September 29, 2017, a stampede on a bridge at Elphinstone station killed 22 people.

“Deeply anguished by the loss of lives due to the foot overbridge accident in Mumbai. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. Wishing that the injured recover at the earliest. The Maharashtra Government is providing all possible assistance to those affected,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi offered condolences to the families of those killed in the incident and prayed for speedy recovery to the injured.

“I am saddened on hearing the news of the Mumbai foot overbridge collapse. I express my heartfelt condolences to the families of those who have died. I pray that injured get relief soon,” he said in a Facebook post in Hindi.

Personnel from the National Disaster Response Force, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Mumbai fire brigade, and local passersby helped pull people from under mounds of debris and carried injured people to nearby hospitals, St George Hospital and Gokuldas Tejpal Hospital. Mohammad Ansari, a taxi driver, was taking a passenger between CST and Mahim and was right under the bridge when debris began to fall on his taxi. He said, “I was lucky that the debris fell on the bonnet of my taxi, and the passenger and I were saved.”

Read more| Among the dead in overbridge collapse, 2 nurses on their way to hospital

Police said the six deceased included two nurses from Gokuldas Tejpal Hospital heading to work for the night shift. They were identified as Apoorva Prabhu (35) and Ranjana Tambe (40). The others were identified as Zahid Shiraj Khan (32), Bhakti Shinde (40), Tapendra Singh (35) and Mohan Kayangude (58). “The collapse of a foot over-bridge in Mumbai is deeply saddening. My thoughts are with the families who lost their loved ones in this accident,” said home minister Rajnath Singh.

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis visited the accident spot and announced a probe, saying the guilty will be punished. “The FOB’s [foot over-bridge] structural audit was conducted along with that of other bridges in the city last year. The audit found the bridge to be fit. (This accident) raises a question mark over the audit,” he said, while announcing Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia to the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the injured.

He said he had spoken to BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta and Indian Railway officials to “ensure speedy relief measures.” Mehta said the BMC will “get to the root of this and study how and why the contract auditor declared the bridge to be not dilapidated.” State education minister Vinod Tawde announced that the Railways and the BMC will conduct a joint inquiry into the incident. “Officials told me that minor repairs were suggested in the structural audit and that the bridge was not categorised as dangerous,” he said. He added the state government will take responsibility of the treatment of all the injured.

Read more| ‘Red light at signal saved lives’, says witness of overbridge collapse

The Opposition blamed the government. The Congress held the BJP-led central and state governments responsible for the collapse, saying they are “criminally culpable” of inaction and also demanded the ouster of Union railway minister Piyush Goyal.

“Modi Government and Maharashtra government are criminally culpable for inaction leading to repeat tragedies — 29/9/2017 — Elphistone Stampede. 3/7/2018 — Andheri Bridge Collapse. “Railway minister’s tall claims of audit have failed time and again. Railway minister Piyush Goyal must resign or be sacked,” said Randeep Singh Surjewala, the party’s chief spokesperson.

First Published: Mar 14, 2019 19:57 IST

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