WITH THE Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) directly contradicting the Railways’ claim and telling the Bombay High Court that it was possible to construct a temporary foot-overbridge in place of the demolished Hancock Bridge near Sandhurst Road station, the court has now sought to know if any government organisation’s advice could be sought in the matter.
It also asked that the additional solicitor general (ASG) be present when the issue is taken up on Friday.
The Railways had earlier informed the court that a foot-overbridge across the railway tracks was not feasible, as there was a water pipeline very close to the proposed alignment besides schools, hospitals and residential areas that could not be shifted.There were also high voltage wires, the shifting of which would affect suburban railway traffic, it had claimed.
“We are only asking you to took at temporary solutions. There are several students who pass from the area. See options which do not harm the property of railways,” said the High Court on Tuesday.
A division bench of Justice S S Kemkar and Justice M S Karnik was hearing a public interest litigation filed by city resident Kamlakar Shenoy, highlighting the increase in the number of accidents and deaths on tracks since the Hancock Bridge was demolished in January, forcing pedestrians to cross the tracks.
“It is the stand of the Railway that the FOB cannot be constructed while the experts of BMC say that the FOB can be constructed. We request the ASG to be present for addressing the issue on Friday,” said Justice Kemkar.
On Tuesday, the railways again said it could not construct the temporary FOB but suggested other measures.
Meanwhile, the Central Railway, in their affidavit, stated that the frequency of buses in the area was very low and should be increased.
“We (Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking) have increased the frequency of buses in the area to facilitate movement of people from one end to the other,” said BMC senior counsel Anil Sakhare. “They are telling us what we should do. They don’t need to give us advice on how to run things.” Sakhare further stated that the Railways would not allow anyone to carry out construction on their property, even though the civic body was willing to pay for the FOB.
The BMC further added that they had, in fact, submitted drawings to show how the construction of the FOB was possible.
The HC then asked, “Is there any government bridge construction body that sanctions such projects and can independently examine the matter?” The BMC has to inform the court about this on Friday.