Mumbai

Poor coordination led to bridge collapse: Bombay HC

Avoidable tragedy: The Himalaya bridge connecting Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus to B.T. Lane collapsed on March 14, claiming six lives and injuring over 30 people.

Avoidable tragedy: The Himalaya bridge connecting Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus to B.T. Lane collapsed on March 14, claiming six lives and injuring over 30 people.   | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

Raps BMC and Railways for laxity despite accidents, collapses

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday said the lack of coordination between the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Railways had led to people being killed in incidents such as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus bridge collapse on March 14 that claimed six lives.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Naresh Patil and Justice N.M. Jamdar was hearing two public interest litigations on the troubles that lakhs of commuters who travel by the city’s local train go through. It also referred to the stampede on the foot over bridge (FOB) at Elphinstone Road Station on September 29, 2017, in which 25 to 30 people lost their lives.

Advocate Suresh Kumar, representing the Railways, told the court that the bridge collapse was a lapse on the BMC’s part. To this, the court said, “There is no point in blaming anyone now. To us it seems apparent that such accidents continue to happen because agencies do not coordinate with each other.” The Bench went on to say, “Both the agencies have all technical expertise; you claim to conduct audits. But why don’t you coordinate with each other? Why don’t you conduct joint meetings to take stock of the condition of all existing FOBs, safety measures etc?”

‘Iron out problems’

The judges also said, “Bridges collapse, accidents take place on foot overbridges, people die... but nothing is done. This is despite claims of regular structural audits.” On July 12, 2018, the court had said, “We expect the additional solicitor general to call for a meeting of general managers of railway zones to discuss various problems.”

Among these, the court had listed FOBs and railway over bridges’ width, entry and exit points to be free of hawkers, railway platform height, entry and exit at peak hours on certain platforms, special care and security for ease of travel for women, senior citizens, children and people with disability, the feasibility of operating double-decker trains during peak hours, avoiding the dumping of garbage and encroachments on railway properties.

The court has asked the petitioners to compile the minutes of the meetings held from the time of the Elphinstone Road station stampede till date.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 8:56:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/poor-coordination-led-to-bridge-collapse-hc/article26657288.ece

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