Maharashtra government to request CAG to audit bridges built by BMC in past five years
The Maharashtra government will write to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to conduct an audit of all bridges constructed by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in the past five years.
The decision was announced by Yogesh Sagar, minister of state for urban development, in the state legislative council on Wednesday.
“The CAG audit will include the money spent on their [bridges] maintenance, structural audit and its process,” said Sagar. The Opposition had demanded an audit of the bridges in light of the Himalaya foot overbridge (FoB) collapse at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) in March. Seven people were killed in the mishap.
Dhanajay Munde, leader of the Opposition in the legislative council, raised the issue of the condition of the city’s bridges and civic infrastructure. Munde said despite audits by firms, there have been accidents in which people have been killed. “There is no guarantee that people who set out for work in the morning will return safely to their homes in the evening. Will the government carry out an audit through the CAG,” he said.
The Opposition also sought fixing of responsibilities on the chief engineer and deputy municipal commissioner for the Himalaya bridge collapse, with Munde and Congress legislator Bhai Jagtap saying that in such cases, senior officials “go scot-free” as lower-level engineers are indicted.
“External audits have been carried out, but isn’t it the job of senior officials to check it?” said Jagtap.
Meanwhile, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said, the government will construct new bridges with modern technology. “We have already started using modern techniques for inspection of bridges,” Fadnavis said, adding that in the CSMT incident, “there has been loss of lives and no one will be spared. Action will be initiated only after someone is found guilty of dereliction of duty”.