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Railways or civic body, no one knows who neglected the Mumbai bridge that collapsed

BMC gave Western railways Rs 21.23 lakh for repair of Andheri bridge in 2010, Rs 1.78 lakh in 2011, but failed to check if work was done.

mumbai Updated: Jul 04, 2018 08:26 IST
Sanjana Bhalerao
Sanjana Bhalerao
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Mumbai bridge collapse,Mumbai bridge,Mumbai
Teams from various agencies, including NDRF and fire brigade, clear debris and fix overhead wires.(Satyabrata Tripathy/HT Photo)

Was Tuesday’s bridge collapse that left five injured in Andheri avoidable? Records suggest it was.

Built in the 1970s, the Gokhale bridge that connects Andheri East to West was in need of repairs for eight years, but both the western railway (WR) and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) failed to act.

While the WR was responsible for the portion above the tracks, the rest was to be maintained by BMC.

According to official records, the civic body paid WR Rs 21.23 lakh for repair of the road overbridge in 2010, and Rs 1.78 lakh in 2011. “After 2010-11, there was no communication from the railways about the bridge. We don’t know if the repairs were carried out,” said SO Kori, chief engineer, bridges, BMC.

That’s not all. Civic body’s routine inspection conducted two years ago had concluded that the girders needed strengthening. However, even after two years, BMC is not even close to inviting contractors for the work.

Those living near the railway tracks said the bridge was repaired only three years ago, while putting up a hoarding.

“The bridge was repaired three years ago while putting up a hoarding. On Tuesday, I heard a loud noise and our rooms started to shake. We thought it was an earthquake. When we rushed outside, we saw the bridge had collapsed,” said Manju Baichand Kharva, a resident of Badri Chawl, which is adjacent to the Andheri railway platform number eight.

Hancock Bridge in Byculla is another bridge where the authorities have locked horns. While responding to a PIL, the Bombay HC had asked CR and BMC to consider a new FOB. The BMC had told the HC it was “ready to fund and provide the land , but the railways were reluctant to take up the work”.

BMC will now seek an audit report on all railway bridges. “We will take stock of structural audit reports of all bridges on railway premises,” said Vijay Singhal, additional municipal commissioner.

Since 2015, BMC has paid Rs 11.25 crore to WR and Rs 92.51 crore to CR for repair of FOBs.

First Published: Jul 04, 2018 08:26 IST