Thursday, during the evening rush hour, a pedestrian bridge connected to Mumbai’s busy Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) collapsed, killing at least six people and 32 injured. The incident triggered the political blame-game and draw attention to the collapsing state of public infrastructure in India’s financial capital.
Foot overbridge collapses at Mumbai CST, 6 dead, 33 injured
As per the Police, the chunks of concrete from the bridge came colliding down on the major Dadabhai Naoroji Road in south Mumbai around 7.35 pm.
The bridge connected CST’s suburban platform No. 1 with BT Lane close to The Times of India Building and the Anjuman-e-Islam School. The bridge was used by thousands of daily travellers rushing to catch local trains on Central Railway and the Harbour Line.
This is not the first time that such incident took place in Mumbai. This is the second main bridge breakdown in Mumbai in the duration of nine months. On 3 July 2018, a pedestrian trail of Gokhale Bridge over Andheri railway station in suburban Mumbai crash away, killing two people and wounding five others. Also last year on 29 September 2017, a rush on a bridge at Elphinstone station killed 22 people.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took twitter to express his grief by tweeting, “Deeply anguished by the loss of lives due to the foot overbridge accident in Mumbai. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. Wishing that the injured recover at the earliest. The Maharashtra Government is providing all possible assistance to those affected”.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi presented condolences to the families of those killed in the occurrence and prayed for quick recovery to the wounded.
Workers from the National Disaster Response Force, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Mumbai fire brigade and local passersby help out the people to pull them out from under mounds of wreckage and carried wounded people to neighbouring hospitals, St George Hospital and Gokuldas Tejpal Hospital.
Police in a recent report said that the six deceased comprised of two nurses from Gokuldas Tejpal Hospital heading to work for the night shift. They were recognized as Apoorva Prabhu (35) and Ranjana Tambe (40). The other deceased were identified as Zahid Shiraj Khan (32), Tapendra Singh (35), Bhakti Shinde (40) and Mohan Kayangude (58).
Home minister Rajnath Singh said, “The collapse of a foot over-bridge in Mumbai is deeply saddening. My thoughts are with the families who lost their loved ones in this accident”.
The Opposition held responsible to the government. The Congress said the BJP-led central and state governments are blameable for the breakdown, saying they are “criminally culpable” of indecision and also claimed the removal of Union railway minister Piyush Goyal.
Randeep Singh Surjewala, the party’s chief spokesperson said, “Modi Government and Maharashtra government are criminally culpable for inaction leading to repeat tragedies — 29/9/2017 — Elphistone Stampede. 3/7/2018 — Andheri Bridge Collapse. “Railway minister’s tall claims of audit have failed time and again. Railway minister Piyush Goyal must resign or be sacked”.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis visited the incident site and declared a investigation, saying the guilty is going to be punished soon. He said, “The FOB’s [foot over-bridge] structural audit was conducted along with that of other bridges in the city last year. The audit found the bridge to be fit. (This accident) raises a question mark over the audit”. He also announced Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia to the families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the injured.
Devendra Fadnavis also tweeted, “Pained to hear about the FOB incident near TOI building in Mumbai.
Spoke to BMC Commissioner and @MumbaiPolice officials and instructed to ensure speedy relief efforts in coordination with @RailMinIndia officials.”
He also said that he had spoken to BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta as well as Indian Railway officials in order to ensure speedy relief actions. Mehta said the BMC will “get to the root of this and study how and why the contract auditor declared the bridge to be not dilapidated.”