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Mumbai foot overbridge collapse near CST railway station: Structural audit report deemed FOB 'fit to use' six months ago

The foot overbridge that collapsed Thursday near CST railway station in Mumbai was ticked as "fit" and was recommended for "minor repairs" only.

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Mumbai foot overbridge collapse near CST railway station: Structural audit report deemed FOB 'fit to use' six months ago
The ill-fated foot over pedestrian bridge (FOB) connected to Mumbai's busy Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) that collapsed Thursday evening was declared 'fit to use' in an audit report submitted six months ago by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

The ill-fated foot over pedestrian bridge (FOB) connected to Mumbai's busy Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) railway station that collapsed Thursday evening claiming six lives and injuring several others was declared 'fit to use' in an audit report submitted six months ago by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

The bridge collapse tragedy has raised some serious questions over the safety certificate issued by the BMC and the quality of the whole survey exercise itself. The contractors selected by the municipal corporation had audited all the 314 bridges, subways and skywalks in Mumbai, an IndianExpress report said. 

"I have sought a custody of documents related to the structural audit. Once I go through it, the further course of action will be decided. Strict action will be initiated if negligence is found," BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta told the newspaper.

Also Read:Mumbai foot overbridge collapse near CST Railway Station: Death toll rises to five, state govt announces Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia

According to an official, the FOB was last repaired in 2010-11 and was constructed around 35 years ago. "In 2016, under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the northern end of the bridge was taken up for beautification but not repairs. The plan included changing the tiles of the bridge and new paint," the official informed.

The said survey was actuated after a bridge on the Mumbai-Goa highway collapsed in 2016 and the report was submitted to the civic commissioner. However, it was only after the Elphinstone Road tragedy which claimed 22 lives and Gokhale Bridge collapse that killed two people in 2018 that the BMC had published the audit report.

The municipality in January this year had finally authorised repairs of more than 50 bridges, flyovers, FOBs and skywalks costing Rs 65 crore. Officials stated that in the structural audit, the CST bridge that collapsed Thursday was ticked as "fit" and was recommended for "minor repairs" only.

They further added that out of 314 bridges, the audit report had endorsed the demolition and reconstruction of only 14 bridges, including five FOBs, major repairs to 47 others and minor repairs of another 176. The remaining 77 bridges were pronounced to be "in sound condition." the report said.

According to the officials, only three FOBs in South Mumbai which include Yellow Gate FOB (P D'Mello Road) and two FOBs near the Marine Lines railway station were to be rebuilt. "Work orders were recently issued for minor repairs," said an official.

"Though the bridge is used by thousands, it is difficult to give the exact numbers of pedestrians who use this bridge immediately," an official informed the daily.

The 35 feet bridge connects CST railway station's platform No1 with BT Lane near the Times of India Building and the Anjuman-e-Islam School and was used by thousands of passengers bustling to catch local trains on Central Railway and the Harbour Line daily.

Read More: Mumbai CST Bridge Collapse: Maharshtra CM Fadnavis sets evening deadline to 'fix responsibility', BMC to decide on dismantling structure

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