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Andheri bridge collapse: Report blames Western Railway, staff

The accident is classified as failure of railway staff and others, reads the report

mumbai Updated: Jul 19, 2018 11:22 IST
Aroosa Ahmed
Aroosa Ahmed
Hindustan Times
Andheri bridge collapse,Mumbai rain,Gokhale bridge
The Gokhale foot overbridge that collapsed after heavy rain in Andheri earlier in July.(Satyabrata Tripathy/HT Photo)

The preliminary report on the collapse of Gokhale Bridge, the pedestrian pathway at Andheri train station, has laid the blame on the staff of Western Railway (WR). “The accident is classified as failure of railway staff and others,” reads the report, which was submitted to the general manager of WR on Wednesday for his comments.

The south pathway of Gokhale Bridge collapsed on July 3 and was followed by a blame game between WR and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Andheri resident Asmita Katkar was grievously injured and succumbed to injuries four days after the collapse. Sushil Chandra, CRS, western circle, who prepared the preliminary report, classified the mishap as a “failure” of WR’s staff. Other factors contributing to the collapse are heavy corrosion and the failure of the road over bridge to take on the additional load of cables and paver blocks, which are provided by the BMC.

The report states, “The failure of the ROB pathway was contributed by the additional load of various cables, sand, paver blocks and etc. provided by Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) without prior permission from Western Railways. The additional loads were not considered at the time of the original design. There was heavy corrosion and pitting of the cantilever steel brackets supporting the pathway resulting in thinning down of section and failure of the pathway ROB.”

HT had earlier reported that during the post-collapse inspection of Gokhale Bridge, railway authorities had stated that additional load created by cables and paver blocks are among the reasons behind the collapse.

Chandra has recommended the railways and MCGM sign an MOU which would in principle state the responsibility of particular authorities for the ROBs.

“There has always been a conflict over responsibility for the ROB. I have recommended that a MOU be signed, specifying the area and roles of both agencies. Further, modern technology and better equipment, apart from manual inspection of the ROBs, should be carried out,” said Chandra.

With the CRS holding WR largely responsible for the collapse of Gokhale bridge, someone in WR is likely to penalised for the oversight that led to the incident. “The final report will state which department is responsible for the failure. Once the report is prepared, a senior railway official will be transferred. The same happened when a bridge collapsed in Ahmedabad in 2015,” said a senior railway board official who requested anonymity.

“The report has arrived but I have not seen it. After seeing the report, we will be giving our comments and then the final report will be prepared,” said AK Gupta, general manager, WR. The final report will be submitted to the Railway Board and the Ministry of Railways within two to three months.

First Published: Jul 19, 2018 00:40 IST