Amid the recent string of mishaps, including the fatal CSMT bridge collapse earlier this year, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has been tasked with conducting structural audits of bridges built in Mumbai by the BMC in the last five years.
The Maharashtra government made the announcement about CAG audit of Mumbai’s bridges, which have been in news recently due to faulty work, in the Legislative Council on Wednesday.
It also assured the Upper House that modern technology will be used in the construction of new bridges in the financial capital, which has seen mishaps involving foot-over-bridges (FOBs) in the last few years.
The latest incident took place in mid-March this year, when a foot overbridge near the crowded Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) railway station collapsed, killing seven persons.
“We will construct new bridges with modern technology. We have already started the use of modern techniques for inspection of the (existing) bridges,” Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told the Council.
Minister of State for Urban Development Yogesh Sagar said, “The CAG will look into the construction of bridges in Mumbai. We will fix a timeline of bridges, which were constructed in the last five years, for CAG audit.”
The agency will look into funds spent on maintenance, structural audits, and the process of allotting contracts, Sagar added.
The issue of the condition of bridges in Mumbai was raised by Leader of Opposition, Dhananjay Munde.
“The police report into the Himalaya bridge collapse has clearly said that the consultant conducted the structural audit of the underneath portion of the bridge by standing on the road. This resulted in the mishap. Then why action is not being taken against the chief engineer and the deputy municipal commissioner?”
Responding to him, Fadnavis said, “Action will be initiated only after someone is found guilty of dereliction of duty.”
The CM also responded in the affirmative to Munde’s question about whether the state was willing to look into the tendering processes with which works have been awarded to private contractors these five years.
Meanwhile, BMC chief Praveen Pardeshi formed the Bridges Advisory Committee on Wednesday to re-examine the 11 FOBs & ROBs, along with 20 skywalks, that are slated for demolition to see if they can be salvaged with repairs.
The committee has two structural experts, one from IIT or VJTI and one BMC engineer. It has been tasked with auditing all ROBs, FOBs, and skywalks in the city and suggesting new techniques for future projects.
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