Mumbai: In the wake of the Andheri bridge collapse, there are some other unattended bridges in the city that need urgent help from Western Railways (WR) and the BMC. One such is the road overbridge (ROB) that passes over GTB station, which has a leaky toilet and low-hanging utility cables.
Wastewater from the 20-year-old toilet finds its way to the GTB railway station platform below, inconveniencing commuters. Vaibhav Vora, 30, a Pratiksha Nagar (Sion) resident and regular commuter, finds it gross that they have to pass below it daily. “The bridge is over 50 years old and is in an extremely dilapidated condition. If the toilet is shut, the leak will automatically diminish. Officials should seriously consider a structural audit of the bridge,” he added.
Lakshman Kumar, 58, a worker at the toilet, contradicts the leak theory. “The leak on the bridge has nothing to do with this toilet. Sewage water flows towards Koliwada, and not the bridge. During monsoon, rainwater accumulated on the bridge flows down and during the rest of the months the leak is caused because of illegal encroachers who bathe and wash their clothes there.”
BJP corporator Rajeshree Shirwadkar of F-North Ward raised this issue during the civic body’s standing committee meeting on Wednesday. Countering Lakshman Kumar’s claim, Shirwadkar said, “It is not the encroachers, but the toilet line passing through the bridge which is causing a leak on an almost a daily basis. We have complained about this negligence for so many years, but to no avail. If the Andheri overbridge can collapse due to digging, such a leak would definitely weaken the bridge.”
Shirwadkar further mentioned that BMC is unwilling to get the toilet demolition stay order revoked. “Had it not been a serious problem, there wouldn’t have been a demolition order for the toilet in the first place. However, the BMC officials are just twiddling their thumbs,” she added.
Let alone the leaky loo, about 3-4 utility wires are hanging low around the bridge. Mohan Indre, a contract worker living near the bridge, said that it is a common sight. “The complaints of locals have fallen on deaf ears. Nobody bothers about these wires, let alone potholes on the newly-repaired bridge.” He further shared his fear of how the bridge quivers when two trains simultaneously pass below it.
GTB station officials maintained that repair work below the bridge is taken care of by the railways and that handling the toilet is the BMC’s business. Ticket collector Dhananjay Yadav said, “We don’t know what causes the leak, but it is common sense that the lower portion of the bridge, which is above the platform, should also be maintained by the Railways. We have already installed new railings which has reduced the intensity of the tremors that the bridge has to withstand and also fixed the broken slabs.” Repeated calls and text messages to Chief Engineer (Bridges) SO Kori went unanswered.