Mumbai: The sudden collapse of the Gokhale overbridge at Andheri, which claimed one life, could have been averted had the Western Railways authorities checked the ‘extra’ weight placed on the structure by the BMC. It was this extra weight of nearly 124 tonnes — comprising dry sand, paver blocks and cable wires — that led to the collapse.
This is the finding of a preliminary probe report submitted on Wednesday by the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CSR) to the Western Railways authorities. The report points at the ‘failure’ on part of the railway staff, which did not act in time. The report specifically states, “This accident is classified as the failure of railway staff and others. Because the responsibility of the maintenance and repair work of this bridge was of the Western Railways.”
The report has also partially blamed the BMC as it was the authority which loaded this ‘extra’ weight on the bridge. The report states, “The accident occurred due to heavy/deep corrosion and pitting of cantilever steel brackets supporting the pathway resulting in thinning down of section. Also, the additional load of various cables, sand, paver blocks, etcetera, provided by the BMC without prior permission from the Western Railway, not contemplated when the bridge was designed, also contributed to its weakening.”
According to a senior WR official a detailed report is awaited and it is only then that they would initiate preventive steps. The Western Railways and the BMS were engaged in a blame game immediately after the collapse; while it was apparent that both shared the blame – in their respective area of operations — none was ready to be held accountable.