Even as a proposal to audit all major bridges in the city was approved in the standing committee of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday, corporators accused the civic administration of delaying the work of auditing and conducting subsequent repairs to bridges. More than a month after a bridge along the Mumbai-Goa highway collapsed in Mahad claiming 42 lives, corporators cited similar concerns for the city.
According to the proposal, the audit will be carried out on 274 bridges of the total 314 bridges in the city. The contract includes carrying out inspections, necessary audits and conducting a survey of the existing condition of the bridges. In the list of bridges to be covered in the audit, the proposal has left at least 40 bridges which have either been built recently or have already been proposed for repairs.
Sena corporators, including Leader of the House Trushna Vishwasrao, claimed that the administration had delayed the process of bringing the proposal to the standing committee and has taken it seriously only after the Mahad tragedy. After the bridge collapsed, Mayor Snehal Ambekar wrote to the municipal commissioner to carry out inspections of the bridges.
Additional municipal commissioner Sanjay Deshmukh, however, denied that the Mahad tragedy had anything to do with the audit of the bridges. “We have been planning to conduct the audit since last December. The process had been initiated but it took a long time to complete,” he said. Crying foul over the shortened list, Leader of the Opposition Pravin Chheda alleged that the administration has deliberately left out the bridges made during the tenure of the BJP-Sena government. “Several bridges, which are obviously in a dilapidated condition, have also been left out of the problematic list. If the administration’s claims are to be believed, what took them so long to complete the tendering process and prepare the proposal? Even if they carry out the process in an expedited manner, it’ll be more than a year before the repairs can be carried out, which creates a risk for people using bridges in dire need of repairs,” said Chheda.
Another Sena corporator, Anuradha Pednekar, pointed out that the manner of inspection was not considering all the aspects and was unclear. “While travelling, one can clearly see that several bridges in the city are encroached upon. The survey needs to consider this as well and examine if the encroachments affect the stability of the structure of the bridge. The administration should submit a detailed description of the inspection process after considering every aspect,” she said. In the Rs 2.17-crore contract, the largest allocation has been made for the western suburbs of Rs 1.05 crore.