The collapse of the foot overbridge near Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus railway station is the latest accident that raises concerns over the city’s stressed infrastructure. Soon after the Mumbai bridge collapse, which left 6 dead and 33 injured, a blame game erupted between Mumbai’s civic body, the Brihanmumbai Corporation and the Indian Railways.
The bridge collapse near Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus is the third such tragedy in the past two years involving the foot overbridges in the city. Safety audits were carried out at about 445 foot overbridges, said Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis after the accident on Thursday. Minor repairs had been carried out on the CST bridge six months ago as part of the audit.
The Railway Ministry has said the overbridge was under the control of Mumbai’s civic body, the Brihanmumbai Corporation – Sena lawmaker Anil Desai has denied the claim. State minister Vinod Tawde said both Railways and the civic body would investigate the matter.
Andheri Bridge Collapse
Part of a 40-year-old bridge at the Andheri station collapsed amid heavy rain in July last year and five people were injured. The bridge, running east to west over the Andheri station, crashed early morning, ripping off overhead wires which were left on the tracks.
The bridge crash damaged a portion of the platform roof, blocked railway lines and damaged high-tension electric wires and overhead power equipment. Five people were injured in the bridge collapse out of which 2 are critical. Incidentally, the bridge, built in 1971, had also cleared the railway’s safety audit just months earlier.
The bridge collapse was held up as an example of the annual civic nightmare in India’s financial capital during rain.
In September 2017, a stampede broke out on a railway bridge at Elphinstone station bridgeduring peak office hours where 22 people killed and over 30 were seriously injured. The stampede broke out after just a 20-minute rain, on the foot over-bridge linking two of the busiest stations in Mumbai — Elphinstone Road and Parel suburban stations.
The stampede took place when four trains arrived at the same time and a crowd surged over the narrow bridge connecting the two stations. Sudden heavy rain made a bad situation worse, as a few slipped, leading to the tragedy. Witnesses said there were rumours of the old bridge collapsing which caused panic and chaos.
Railway officials blamed the incessant rains for causing the deadly stampede despite multiple warnings citing safety concerns.
Mumbai’s suburban railway network, a lifeline for the city’s residents, is used by around 8.5 million commuters daily.
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