‘How Did Lalbaug Bridge Get Cracks In Five Years?’ HC Asks Govt, BMC Whether Action Was Taken Against Contractor

‘How Did Lalbaug Bridge Get Cracks In Five Years?’ HC Asks Govt, BMC Whether Action Was Taken Against Contractor

The court has asked the BMC to file an affidavit stating that the report prepared by its Statutory Technical Advisory Committee (STAC), which was directed to study the structure and spell out causes of its deterioration, found that it was due to breach on the part of the contractor

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Thursday, February 01, 2024, 10:49 AM IST
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Lalbaug Bridge | Representational Image

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the state government, the BMC and MMRDA to inform whether any action was taken against the contractor who constructed the Lalbaug flyover, which developed cracks in 2016, within five years of construction. The court has asked the BMC to file an affidavit stating that the report prepared by its Statutory Technical Advisory Committee (STAC), which was directed to study the structure and spell out causes of its deterioration, found that it was due to breach on the part of the contractor.

“If any such breach is found to be committed by the contractor, the affidavit shall spell out action taken by the BMC,” a division bench of Chief Justice DK Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor said on Wednesday. The HC was hearing a PIL filed by activist Bhagvanji Rayani raising questions about the safety of commuters on the 2.6km flyover between ITC Hotel in Parel and Jijamata Udyan in Byculla. Built at the cost of Rs12.46 crore, it was inaugurated in June 2011 to help ease one of the most congested stretches on the eastern corridor.

Major gap spotted in 2016

In 2016, a major gap was visible between two slabs on the flyover. The authorities said the expansion joints had been damaged, with the rubber seal having come off, and they were considering whether the parts had to be replaced or if full-fledged repair was required. Following the PIL, the HC in March 2017, directed the state government to appoint an expert committee to conduct the audit.

Advocate Sumedha Rao, appearing for Rayani, pointed out that no action has been taken as yet. On a court query, the BMC advocate said that the flyover was constructed by MMRDA and hence it had no role. However, the bench quipped saying that after construction, the MMRDA had handed over the flyover to the BMC. State advocate, meanwhile, said that the STAC report recommended repairs, which was carried out. “According to the report, the committee accepted the audit report of the structural auditor, and accepted suggestions. However, it does not spell out causes for deterioration of the flyover,” the bench said in its order.

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