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August 10, 2021

Safety audit negligent, says initial report on Mumbai footbridge collapse that killed 6

A preliminary report of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has blamed the structural audit for the collapse of foot overbridge near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station on Thursday. The incident had left six people killed and more than 30 others injured.

“There is a prima facie reason to believe that the structural audit has been conducted an irresponsible and negligent manner. This tragedy could have been avoided if the structural audit had been done diligently,” news agency ANI reported on Friday.

“It’s apparent that structural audit report has failed to point out an impending failure. In spite of commissioning the report of bridge and spending public money on it, true condition of bridge was not brought out. The structural report should be made public,” ANI reported.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who visited the bridge site and met those injured in the incident this morning, had sought a preliminary report from the authorities asking them to “fix primary responsibility” for the mishap.

The BMC has suspended two officials and ordered inquiry against two retired officials. Show cause notice has been issued to the auditor and one contractor, who repaired the bridge.

This was the second incident of bridge collapse in Mumbai in nine months. On July 3, 2018 a pedestrian pathway of Gokhale bridge had come crashing on the railway tracks at Andheri railway station. Two people were killed while five others were injured in that incident.

Following the July 2018 incident, the railways had ordered audit of 445 bridge structures crossing the railway tracks in Mumbai. A team headed by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Bombay conducted audit of the bridges. This bridge was found fit for use.

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