Goyal orders probe into Gokhale road FoB collapse
Union Minister for Railways Piyush Goyal yesterday announced a joint audit of all the 445 Rail-over-Bridges (RoBs), Foot-over-Bridges (FoBs) and all structures on Storm Water Drains (SWD) clogging the drains on Mumbai's suburban railway network. The joint audit will be headed by IIT Bombay along with Railways and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), and will be completed in six months time. Speaking to newspersons at the crash site of the Gokhale Road FoB in Andheri, he said that Commissioner of Rail Safety has been directed to conduct a probe into the incident and submit his report within 15 days.
Speaking further, he said that he spoke to IIT Bombay Director Devang Kakkad who has agreed to head the audit team. He further disclosed that the Gokhale Road FoB was constructed about 40 years ago and was a cantilever design. Goyal disclosed that the FoB was declared safe for use after the last structural audit done on November 12, 2017. The Union Minister for Railways disclosed that a total budget of Rs 65,000 crore has been allocated to improve the suburban railway network. The amount includes sharing from center and state government. The audit will examine whether there was any flaw in the structure, construction flaws or any further need for improving the structural stability. Goyal stated that the repairs and strengthening of these FoBs and RoBs will be taken up on mission mode.
Goyal also announced a Rs 5 lakh reward to motorman Chandrashekhar Sawant for saving the lives of passengers by applying emergency brakes to the Churchgate bound slow local just as he saw the bridge collapsing in front of him. Sawant will be felicitated later by Goyal. He further disclosed that 500 staff members, that included personnel from Railways, BMC, Fire brigade and government officials have been deployed to restore normalcy in suburban services. Besides these, railway experts from Delhi, Lucknow and the Central Railways have joined the investigation and efforts to restore the services.
Commenting on the five people who have suffered injuries, Goyal stated that the government has given Rs 1 lakh adhoc compensation to the injured. The Ministry of Railways will bear all the medical expenses of the injured who have been admitted to the nearby Nanavati and R N Cooper hospitals. Refusing to be drawn in the blame game, he said that the priority of the railways was to restore full normalcy in suburban rail services by today morning.