Mumbai: NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Friday demanded a white paper on the condition of all the bridges in the megapolis. His demand comes a day after six persons were killed and 31 others injured when a section of the foot overbridge near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) in south Mumbai collapsed.
Talking to reporters here, Pawar also expressed concerns over the “frequent mishaps” taking place in the city. “A number of bridges, including the Eastern Express Highway, need immediate attention. The Public Works Department (PWD), the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Railways need to carry out fresh audits of all the bridges and then they should be made public so that people know the condition of the bridges they are using,” he said.
“There is a need for inspection of all foot overbridges (FOBs) and road overbridges (ROBs) and a white paper should be published on it,” he said. Pawar also demanded that the big ticket Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project be scrapped. “There is no point spending millions of dollars on the bullet train, when 11 to 15 railway passengers are dying in railway mishaps in Mumbai daily. Instead, this huge money should be spent on strengthening the suburban railway services as almost one crore passengers travel by trains in the metropolis daily,” he said.
“The Centre and the state should take this issue seriously to save the lives of commuters,” the NCP chief added. “We must never forget that Mumbai is the financial capital of the country and its population is on the rise. Therefore, such incidents mar the city’s growth prospects,” he further said. Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan and Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde held the government responsible for the incident.
“The government is insensitive. The state ignored my demand of audit of FOBs,” Chavan said. He demanded immediate sacking of BMC Commissioner and Mayor. Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam accused BMC Chief Ajoy Mehta of “criminal negligence” and demanded his removal. “Such incidents are increasing in Mumbai. Despite the deaths of innocent Mumbaikars no action is taken by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis against the guilty. People have to bear the brunt of the criminal negligence of the civic chief,” he said.