Mumbai: Taking note of the recent bridge collapse in the city, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday slammed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the railways for the ‘lack of coordination’ between the two authorities. The HC sought to know why some or the other tragic incident take place, especially in the face of the ‘claims’ of regular audits, made by these authorities.
At least six citizens lost their lives after a foot overbridge (FOB) outside Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) collapsed in the evening rush hour on March 14. Referring to the incident, a division bench of Chief Justice Naresh Patil and Justice Nitin Jamdar asked the authorities not to indulge in blame game.
“Bridges collapse, accidents take place on FOBs, innocent citizens die but nothing is done. What is happening?” asked CJ Patil. We think these accidents continue to take place, especially because of the lack of coordination between the authorities. We think there is no point of blaming anyone now,” CJ Patil remarked.
“We fail to understand why there is this lack of coordination. You (BMC and railways) have all the technical expertise and you claim to conduct audits, so why can’t you coordinate with each other? Why can’t you conduct joint meetings to take stock of the condition of all existing FOBs etc,” the Chief Justice said.
The remarks were made in response to the submissions of advocate Suresh Kumar, who represented the Central Railways. He directly blamed the BMC for the bridge collapse outside CSMT. The bench was seized with a petition filed pursuant to the 2017 Elphinstone Road stampede incident, wherein over 23 citizens were killed.
During the course of the hearing, the judges suggested that both authorities sit together and discuss the wide range of problems affecting suburban train transport in the city. “Discuss all the issues like conducting safety audits of ROBs and FOBs, removal of encroachers alongside tracks and etc,” the bench said, while posting the matter for further hearing after four weeks.