BMC, railways spar over collapsed FOB

Mumbai | Over a month after a foot overbridge (FOB) near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) collapsed, killing seven persons, a blame game has erupted between the Mumbai civic body and the Central Railway (CR) over it.

The Brihanmumai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has recently written a letter to the CR, seeking to know whether the railway authorities had intimated it about linking the FOB to 18 platforms at the CSMT.

The 40-year-old Himalaya FOB was connected to CSMT’s suburban train platforms one to seven and long-distance train platforms eight to 18.

The civic body said it wanted to know whether linking of outstation train platforms led to an increase in the load on the bridge. However, CR officials said it was very immature to say that the bridge fell because of the human load.

“Don’t consider our letter as blame-game. We simply want to ascertain whether linking of platforms for outstation trains with the (collapsed) FOB led to increase in the load?” said a senior BMC official requesting anonymity.

When contacted, CR officials objected to the civic body’s letter and said a reply to the BMC will be given soon.

“Let us make it clear that the railways constructed the FOB to facilitate the passengers. But in the last 10 to 12 years, the footfall of suburban passengers at the FOB had gone down. Hence, it is very immature to say that the bridge fell because of the increasing load,” a senior CR official said.

“In fact, human load does not affect a bridge as much as the static load, like the use of heavy material, such as tiles, which was also the case with the ill-fated bridge,” the CR official added.

Although the number of long-distance passengers have gone up, they approach to the platforms via P D’Mello Road and not from the collapsed bridge, the official added.

After the bridge collapsed on March 14, Mumbai police had booked both the BMC as well as the railway officials and launched a probe. However, the police had later dropped the charges against the CR officials.

Police have so far arrested three persons, including two civil engineers, in connection with the bridge collapse incident that had also left several people injured.

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