Negligence & Red Tape Caused Mumbai Bridge Collapse, Says Activist
Video Editor: Ashish Maccune
Negligent, corrupt and unaccountable, that’s how activist Sameer Zaveri describes Mumbai’s nexus of bureaucrats, contractors and politicians. Barely a week after 6 people died and over 30 were injured after a bridge collapsed outside CST station, the structural auditor of the bridge has been arrested. Neeraj Kumar Desai, a director of Prof DD Desai's Associated Engineering Consultant and Analyst was arrested for the faulty audit report.
“The government must upload this FIR copy on their website for information on the accused and keep updating details from the case diary because all of this is documentary evidence. There is also vicarious liability here. We have voted for our politicians and they too receive salaries from our money, be it the CM or Railway Minister. The BMC commissioner, who is an IAS officer too receives a hefty salary. But after these incidents we can understand that something isn’t right.”Sameer Zaveri, Railway activist
The audit report for the bridge had shown it in good condition. Just minor repairs had been prescribed. The slab of the bridge, however, collapsed on 14 March, leading to 6 deaths. “Just 6 years after being repaired, if the bridge collapses then this proves that the contractor hasn’t worked properly and BMC engineers did not supervise properly. They must write down the names of those officers who may have retired now and investigate them,” added Zaveri.
In the last two years, Mumbai has witnessed at least 6 bridge mishaps, the deadliest one occurred in September 2017 when a stampede that broke out at Elphinstone station claimed the lives of 23 people. Zaveri adds that red tape and the authorities’ inability to keep up with increasing number of commuters who travel by the Mumbai locals is one of the key reasons for this.
“Railways said that they have ordered an inquiry and they may have but till date no one has been held accountable for this and neither has anyone been investigated. They still didn’t learn their lesson and then the Andheri road over bridge collapsed. BMC and Railways immediately start their blame game. This is a government bridge that is being maintained for so many years. Its structural audit is being done for so many years so how do they not know who is responsible?”Sameer Zaveri, Railway activist