BMC: Foot overbridge audit carried out negligently; CR booked

Mumbai: Less than 24 hours after a foot overbridge collapsed outside Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), that claimed six lives, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Friday officially accepted responsibility for the tragedy and said that the structural audit of the bridge had been carried out in an irresponsible and negligent manner due to which it failed to point out impending issues.

In this backdrop, four BMC officials have been found guilty and two of them, who are engineers, have been suspended for poor supervision a while full-fledged departmental enquiry (FFDE) has been ordered against two senior officers. Municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta passed the orders against the civic officials on Friday after the preliminary report on the collapse had been submitted.

Meanwhile, the police filed a first information report (FIR) against the BMC and the Central Railway (CR) late on Thursday night and investigation is underway to fix individual responsibility. “BMC inquiry will have no bearing on our investigation. Criminal investigation will continue independent of the BMC probe,” a police official said.

The BMC completed its internal inquiry on Friday and held M/s RPS Infraprojects Pvt Ltd responsible on several counts, including fudging the age of the bridge and its condition. The report will be sent to the police.

BMC officers had asserted on Thursday that they had carried structural repairs of the bridge, which is only 34 years old, as per the audit report; however, the BMC has now found that the structural audit itself had many lapses due to which the bridge collapsed.

The report says that the auditor did not raise any alarm with regard to any anticipated failure and had reported that all critical components comprising concrete and steel were in a good condition. The audit was carried by DD Desai Associated Engineering Consultants and Analyst Pvt Ltd, whi-ch is now blacklisted by the BMC. Mr Mehta has ordered the filing of an FIR against the auditor.

The audit was carried by DD Desai Associated Engineering Consultants and Analyst Pvt Ltd, which is now blacklisted by the BMC.

Surprisingly, while the auditor inspected the bridge in December 2016 and condition assessment was carried in July 2017, the final report was submitted to the BMC in August 2018.

The report found that the bridge needed no major repairs and termed good for public use and the construction year was also wrongly shown. The bridge is built 1984-86 but the auditor mentioned as 1998. 

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