Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday ordered investigation by a high-powered committee into the bridge collapse at Mahad, along with a structural review audit of all the existing bridges across Maharashtra.
Two aspects which would be probed are whether there was negligence in certifying the bridge as being in good condition in May 2016, despite an earlier report suggesting that the bridge’s life span was up till 2016. Minister of Public Works Department (PWD) Chandrakant Patil, however, said in the Legislative Assembly and Council the bridge was reviewed in May 2016 and the report had certified that it was in a good condition.
On Wednesday, Fadnavis visited the site at Mahad to review the relief and rescue operations after two state buses plunged into a flooded Savitri river. At least 30 people, including 18 commuters, two bus drivers and two conductors are suspected killed in the incident that took place late Tuesday night.
Terming the incident as “very unfortunate”, Fadnavis said, “We will probe the bridge collapse to find out the administrative and other lapses that led to the human tragedy.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi called up Fadnavis to seek the report and assured all help from the Centre.
Based on the preliminary reports, Fadnavis said, “The bridge was built in the 1940s, during the British era. The heavy rains along the catchment areas of Mahabaleshwar coupled with floods in river Savitri built pressure leading to its collapse.” He added, “There are two parallel bridges. The old bridge was used for single lane to ease the traffic along with the new bridge which was fully operational.”
The National Disaster Response Force was swung into action along with special life boats and aircraft. Earlier, when the bridge collapse issue was raised in both Houses of the state legislature, Opposition leaders Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil and Dhananjay Munde demanded a judicial probe into the matter.