Onlookers and office goers gather around rubbles of a footbridge outside the Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus railway complex in Mumbai on March 14, 2019. - Four people were killed and dozens injured when a footbridge collapsed near Mumbai's main train station on March 14, the latest accident to highlight creaking infrastructure in India's financial capital. (Photo by STR / AFP)
Onlookers and office goers gather around rubbles of a footbridge outside the Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus railway complex in Mumbai on March 14, 2019. - Four people were killed and dozens injured when a footbridge collapsed near Mumbai's main train station on March 14, the latest accident to highlight creaking infrastructure in India's financial capital. (Photo by STR / AFP)

Mumbai: The Himalaya FOB, which collapsed outside the CSMT, was audited twice and both times the auditors claimed it was in a ‘good condition’.

The Free Press Journal talked with Chetan Raikar, Managing Director and Chairman of Structwel, a consultancy firm, who was called to give a first observation report after the mishap. “Age-related corrosion could be the primary reason for the fall of the bridge,” said Raikar.

This raises questions about the authenticity of the structural audit and the recommendations made by BMC. The audit report, which this newspaper has acquired, states there was corrosion of the concrete slab, which was underneath the granite slab; there were cracks in the railing; and the broken threads and risers needed replacement.

Raikar said that a structural audit has to consider three important aspects. “The auditors have to assess the load carrying capacity; the deterioration on account of age, weather, pollution and over loading; and gaps to be filled,” explained the consultant.

He added, “In the case of CST FOB, only age related corrosion could have been the reason, but more details would emerge after the corporation submits the final report.” Another structural auditor said the granite and concrete sheets should have been inspected. “The N-grinders (side beams) of the bridge were very strong.

However, the audit should have pointed out the durability of the granite and the concrete sheets,” said the auditor on condition of anonymity. The tender for the repair and maintenance work of the FOB was supposed to be tabled in the standing committee of the BMC in the upcoming session, next week.

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