FOLLOWING DEMANDS from Opposition parties, the government on Wednesday announced that it would carry out a complete audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) into the bridges built by the BMC in the last five years. The audit will also look into the funds spent on bridge maintenance, their structural audits and the process followed for such audits during this period.
The issue was raised by Leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde through a starred question in the Legislative Council. “The police report into the Himalaya bridge collapse has clearly said that the the consultant conducted the structural audit of the underneath portion of the bridge by standing on the road. This resulted in the mishap. Then why action is not being taken against the chief engineer and the deputy municipal commissioner?” asked Munde.
Munde claimed that Mumbaikars are living under constant fear. “The government must tell whether it will conduct an audit by CAG into the bridges built by the BMC, funds spent on its maintenance, structural audits and its process in the last five years,” he said, asking what has happened Union Minister Piyush Goyal’s announcement of getting 425 bridges audited by third parties following the Elphinstone stampede incident.
In reply, Minister of State for Urban Development Yogesh Sagar said: “We will conduct a CAG audit into the bridges built by the BMC, funds spent on maintenance, structural audits and its process… We will also probe the role of the chief engineer and the deputy municipal commissioner with respect to the Himayala bridge collapse. If they had any role, action will be taken in a month.”
On March 14, the Himalaya Bridge, near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, had collapsed, killing seven and injuring 33 people.
On Wednesday, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said in the Council that BMC had carried out the structural audits of 304 out of 344 bridges. As many as 223 bridges in the eastern and western suburbs were re-audited after the Himayala bridge collapsed. The re-auditing work of 81 bridges in island city is going on, he said.
“The Railways have audited the British era bridges through IIT-Mumbai and their preliminary report has been received. The Railways and BMC has already closed down some dilapidated bridges. With new technology suggested by the IIT, we are completing these works in the next three to six months,” Fadnavis added.