Mumbai : The ill-fated British era bridge on Savitri river at Mahad that took with it 42 lives was supposed to have been pulled down in December last year. Disclosing this here, PWD Minister Chandrakant Patil stated that due to public demand the bridge was kept in operation.
The Minister stated that since the bridge on the Mumbai-Goa highway came under the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), hence it was its responsibility to reconstruct the bridge. It may be recalled that Union Minister for Surface Transport Nitin Gadkari had announced soon after the Mahad tragedy that NHAI would reconstruct the bridge within 18 months.
Patil disclosed that there are about 2,300 bridges in the state out of which 100 odd are from British era and from the era of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. He announced that all these bridges will be twice inspected every year. He added that the three-member committee of experts from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) has commenced its study of the bridge. The report is expected to be received by next meeting of the cabinet due on August 23. The process of constituting the judicial inquiry has been set in motion.
A workshop will be conducted for the PWD engineers for methodology to be used for inspection of the bridges. Patil further stated that workshop will dwell on what to do with trees that grow on the bridge structure weakening it later. He said pulling out the trees does not solve the issue.
Patil stated that it will have to be decided on whether to repair or reconstruct these bridges. He further stated a Bridge division shall be created in each administrative division of the state to take care of the bridges in their division.
He also said the state cabinet has relaxed the norm of seven years waiting period for granting government compensation to kith and kin of the deceased in such accidents. The kin of the deceased shall now get compensation within two months.
Considering the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) has announced Rs 14 lakh compensation to the passengers who lost their lives in the two ST buses and on the demand of kin of deceased from private vehicles, the government shall also give Rs 10 lakh to them as well.