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WHEN ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE AT CSMT

Friday, March 15, 2019
By Philip Varghese. Photographs by Azad Shrivastav

Five persons were killed and 36 persons injured after a major portion of a foot-overbridge near Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in south Mumbai collapsed on Thursday evening

Almost eight months after the collapse of Andheri’s Gokhale overbridge on July 3 last year, five persons were killed and 36 persons injured when a major portion of a foot-overbridge near Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in south Mumbai collapsed on Thursday evening.

The bridge connected the bustling Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus railway station with the road near Times of India office.

All the injured have been rushed to nearby GT hospital and St. George hospital for  further treatment. At least two of the injured are said to be in a critical condition.

An eyewitness said when the bridge collapsed, there was a red light on at the nearby signal, and that is the main reason why the death toll was contained. Another eyewitness said the overbridge was being used despite repairs being carried out this morning.

The bridge is commonly known as 'Kasab bridge' after the 26/11 Mumbai attack terrorist passed through it during the terror attacks.

The incident took place at around 7.30 pm when a major portion of the bridge caved in and some motorists who were passing beneath the bridge when it came down, were among those injured.

“Fire brigade personnel reached the spot immediately and rescue work is in full swing. We have appealed to the motorists to avoid the D N road to JJ flyover section,” said a police official at the spot.

The entire stretch of the road was barricaded by the Mumbai Police for traffic movement and four JCBs were pressed into duty to remove the debris, while the Mumbai Fire Brigade ensured that the area under thebridge was cordoned off to avoid any further untoward incident.

An eyewitness at the spot informed ADC, “I was just walking towards Crawford market and has just passed walking on the bridge when I got down and heard a loud thud behind me.”

Another witness to the incident, said, “I was at the spot and suddenly, I heard a noise and there were  debris all around. Then I realised that it was the bridge that collapsed. There was a man selling bananas below the bridge and another vada pav vendor who used to sit right below the bridge everyday. A lady who works as a nurse at the GT hospital was also among those who were on the bridge and fell down and died.”

Eyewitnesses said repairs were being carried out on the bridge this morning, but it was still being used. There was a lot of rush on the bridge as it was the peak evening after office hours, another eyewitness said.

Officials claimed that the CSMT bridge was not part of a safety audit ordered after another foot overbridge had collapsed last year in Andheri. 445 such bridges had to be assessed in a safety audit after last July's Andheri bridge collapse. The 40-year-old bridge at the Andheri station had crumbled after heavy rain last year. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had then said the Andheri bridge, built in 1971, had a 'design flaw'.

Amitesh Kumar, Joint Commissioner of Police, Traffic, said , "We are trying to decongest the area so as to ensure easy movement ofambulances. That's all I can say right now."

Vidya Chavan, NCP leader said, “This is the second incident after the Elphinstone Bridge incident that the authorities have failed to do their responsibility. What happened to audit and who passed the audit of this bridge? This should be enquired thoroughly as it is always the railway passengers who are bearing the brunt of this.”  

Milind Deora, Congress leader who visited the spot immediately after the incident sought to file an FIR against those responsible for this mishap. “There should be an FIR under section 302 of IPC for murder against all those responsible for this,” Deora said.     

Raj Purohit, BJP MLA said, “There should be action against those who did the audit of this bridge and passed it claiming it as safe. If it was found to be faulty, then it should have been repaired. The BMC is responsible for this disaster.”  

Vinod Tawde, Education Minister said, “I was called by the CM about this issue when I was about to go to Vidhan Bhavan for some official work. I returned back to the spot. We will need to find out  who are responsible for this. We will take a report from the BMC and railways on the matter. Right now, our priority is to take care of the injured victims and the government will give all treatment to them. Later, we will surely set up an inquiry with the Railways and the BMC to know the reasons for this mishap.”

Twitter Reactions...
Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant:

The bridge comes under the railways. It was maintained by the BMC. Regardless of whom the bridge belongs to, the BMC conducted an audit! I am not the authority.

Ankit Lal@AnkitLal:
Really sad to hear about the #MumbaiBridgeCollapse
Hope this incident is not swept under the carpet under the garb of 'Spirit of Mumbai. Someone needs to be held accountable...

Rajdeep Sardesai@sardesairajdeep:
This isn’t just about a bridge.. a city for the longest time has seen its infra in a state of disrepair.. Mumbai: Ram Bharose.. needs a citizens movement for change..

waglenikhil@waglenikhil
This is not about a single bridge. In last one year 3 bridges collapsed. This is about unmaintained  #infrastructure of Mumbai. Mumbaikars are unsafe. #MumbaiBridgeCollapse

Mubina Kapasi@MubinaKapasi:
BMCs budget - Rs 37000 cr
The RICHEST municipality in ASIA; their budget is bigger than some states like Goa's whose estd receipts are at Rs 16000 cr!
Mumbai's population size is NOT the reason for the apathy!!

Congress @INCIndia
We are deeply saddened by the news of the #MumbaiBridgeCollapse, our thoughts & prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives & we wish the injured a speedy recovery. We urge all Congress workers to help in any way they can.

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