Referring to the recent bridge collapse in Mumbai, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the railways why such incidents continued to take place despite their claims of regular structural audits.
A bench of Chief Justice Naresh Patil and Justice NM Jamdar said such accidents were apparently a result of lack of coordination between the two agencies.
On March 14, a foot overbridge near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus collapsed killing six persons and injuring 31.
The observation came after Suresh Kumar, the counsel for Central Railway, told the court that the bridge collapse was “a lapse on the BMC’s part”.
However, the bench said, “There is no point of blaming anyone now. To us it seems apparent such accidents continue to happen because agencies do not coordinate with each other.”
“You (BMC and railways) have all technical expertise, you claim to conduct audits. But why don’t you coordinate with each other? Why don’t you conduct joint meetings to take stock of the condition of all existing foot overbridges, safety measures etc,” the bench said.
“Bridges collapse, accidents take place on foot over bridges, people die…but nothing is done. What is happening?” the bench said.
The court said both agencies must look into the wide range of problems affecting suburban rail travel in the city.
It asked the agencies to look at issues such as conducting safety audits of overbridges and foot overbridges, removal of encroachers abutting tracks, and entry and exit points of such bridges.
It was hearing a PIL filed after the 2017 Elphinstone Road station foot overbridge stampede.