Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Friday said that he has asked Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) chief Ajoy Mehta to fix "primary responsibility" for Thursday's foot overbridge (FOB) collapse by today evening. The CM informed while speaking to reporters after visiting the injured at St George's Hospital in Mumbai.
Meanwhile, the BMC chief will also chair a meeting to decide on the future course of action whether to dismantle the entire FOB or not today.
The ill-fated foot over pedestrian bridge connected to Mumbai's busy Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) had collapsed Thursday evening claiming six lives and injuring several others.
"It is shocking that such an accident can take place even after a structural audit. Primary responsibility will be fixed by this evening. I have asked civic chief (Ajoy Mehta) to find out names of those responsible," Fadnavis said.
"A high level probe into this incident has already been ordered. Those responsible (for the collapse) will be punished," he further added. Fadnavis also said he had ordered a re-visit of all earlier structural audits carried out on such structures. The Maharashtra CM visited the mishap site post the visit to the hospital.
Earlier in the day, A BMC official had said that the FOB was declared 'fit to use' in an audit report submitted six months ago by the municipal corporation.
"During that audit, 354 bridges were checked for their structural soundness. The FOB that collapsed on Thursday was marked C2B. This means it needed minor repairs only. Tenders were floated for the repair but it got held up," the official said Friday morning.
Meanwhile, a BMC spokesperson said Civic Commissioner Ajoy Mehta will meet Road and Bridge department officials Friday and then take a call on dismantling the entire FOB, a BMC spokesperson told PTI.
On Friday morning, the BMC kept the busy DN Road blocked as part of the post-collapse safety stipulations and civic staff went about dismantling the entire deck of the FOB.
"DN Road (on which the FOB stood) has been blocked as a precautionary measure. BMC commissioner Mehta has called a meeting on this to decide on its re-opening," another civic official told the news agency.
Among the deceased, Apoorva Prabhu, Ranjana Tambe and Bhakti Shinde were nurses working in GT Hospital about half a kilometre away from the FOB. Others who died in the collapse were Zahid Shiraj Khan (32), Tapendra Singh (28) and Mohan, officials said.
Among the injured was Atmaram Yedge (32) who sold bananas on the FOB. He has received injuries to his head, back and arms.
Activists, meanwhile, said strict action should be taken against errant officials and those who had audited the overbridge and found it "safe".
Subhash Gupta, president of Rail Yatri Parishad said, "The days of blame game should be over now. Action should be taken against the auditors who certified this FOB structurally safe."
He also said that Central Railway, which has said the FOB belongs to the civic body, cannot wash its hands off the episode as the bridge was used by railway passengers.
"If accountability is not fixed, such incidents will keep taking place. The average Mumbaikars does not care whose job it was to keep the bridge safe," Congress leader Milind Deora said.
Suhas Pandey, relative of a person injured in the incident, demanded fixing of accountability at the highest level.
"BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta must be booked for this incident," he said. He also hit out at politicians visiting the injured in hospitals, alleging that they were doing it for publicity.
Criminal lawyer Tanveer Nizam called it a case of negligence and said the concerned officials should be held responsible for the deaths in the incident.
A case has been registered against officials of Central Railway and the BMC in connection with the incident, police said Thursday.
"We have registered an offence under section 304A (causing death by negligence) of the IPC at the Azad Maidan police station," Manjunath Singe, Mumbai police spokesperson, had said hours after the incident.
(With inputs from agency)