Damning secret behind Andheri overbridge collapse is out
National  
economictimes

The Andheri road overbridge accident could have been avoided. A bridge inspector from the railway’s Andheri section had carried out a detailed survey of the 47-year-old Gokhale Bridge in April and found large-scale corrosion along the bridge but this report was never sent to the BMC, a Mumbai Mirror report has claimed.

 

“A report was submitted to the divisional engineering department saying there was a need for maintenance work to be carried out in a planned manner. The engineering department had drafted a proposal based on the inspection report,” a senior railway official told the newspaper.
 
The bridge collapse due to heavy rains resulted in five people suffering injuries and a day-long disruption of train services. A major tragedy was averted, all thanks to an alert motorman who applied emergency brakes to halt the train metres from the crash site.
 
When the newspaper dug deep into the case, it was found that the repairs proposal was sent to the railway’s accounts department for cost estimation, where it remained “under process”.
 
“As per the protocol, the cost estimation should have been forwarded to the BMC to release the funds for the bridge’s repairs, since it was a BMC property. The BMC would have conducted its own inspection before releasing the funds. In this case, the cost estimation was never sent to the BMC,” a Western Railway source told Mirror.
 
On Tuesday, the Western Railway, said an audit “didn’t find any structural flaw in the bridge”. When Mirror contacted the Western Railway’s public relations officer, Ravinder Bhaker, he refused to confirm, or deny, the story.
 
“I cannot comment at the moment as I will have to check the file that was sent to the finance department after the inspection, and the remarks by finance department. Can’t comment without looking at the file,” Bhaker told Mirror.
 

 

Taking a strong view of the “passing the buck” attitude, the Bombay High Court yesterday pulled up the BMC, saying any incident pertaining to civic amenities in the city which affects citizens was BMC’s responsibility, and that it cannot pass the buck to other authorities.
 
“The BMC has to start taking responsibility for all this. It cannot say that the property belongs to railways. You (BMC) cannot pass the buck or wash off your hands saying this property belongs to some other authority,” the court said, giving example of last year’s stampede at the Elphinstone Road foot overbridge, when “no one took the responsibility”.
 

 
 


 
 


 
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