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‘Why pay rly engineers if they can’t solve problems like Hancock Bridge?’

The court was hearing a public interest litigation complaining about lack of access from east of Sandhurst Road to the west after the bridge on the central railway line was pulled down.

mumbai Updated: Nov 17, 2017 22:04 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari
Kanchan Chaudhari
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Hancock Bridge,Sandhurst Road
The court was hearing a public interest litigation complaining about lack of access from east of Sandhurst Road to the west after the bridge on the central railway line was pulled down.(FILE)

The Bombay high court (HC) on Friday rapped the railway authorities for failing to come up with a solution to the problems faced by local residents after the demolition of Hancock Bridge.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation complaining about lack of access from east of Sandhurst Road to the west after the bridge on the central railway line was pulled down. “We fail to understand why railway engineers get paid, if they can’t find a solution [to the problem],” said a bench of chief justice Manjula Chellur and justice Mahesh Sonak.

Petitioner’s lawyer Pradeep Thorat said there are six public schools in the area and a large number of schoolchildren are compelled to take a 8-10km detour because of removal of the bridge.

Thorat pointed out that the petitioner had suggested seeking help from defence forces to come up with a temporary arrangement, but railway engineers turned it down. “Your chief engineer [who was present in the court on Friday] just can’t keep saying no to every suggestion,” said the judges. “May be the suggestions are faulty, but then he must also come up with a solution. It can’t simply stop at that [saying no].”

“You can’t be so blind and deaf to the problems faced by people,” the bench said, ordering additional solicitor general Anil Singh: “Children and aged people are required to take an unnecessary turn of 10km and you know what it takes to travel 10km in Mumbai traffic.”

The judges were irked on knowing that the railway authorities had constructed a wall to stop people from crossing tracks near Sandhurst Road railway station and avoid track deaths, but nothing was done to resolve the issue. “You can’t just construct a wall and forget about the problem,” said the bench.

On Friday, Singh told the court that the Supreme Court has recently lifted the stay on construction of a new road overbridge at the site of Hancock Bridge, which was demolished in January 2015. The judges were miffed on finding out that the construction of ROB will take at least 18 months, after completion of the bidding process, which is yet to get over.

The PIL will come up for hearing on Wednesday.

First Published: Nov 17, 2017 22:03 IST