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Mumbai bridge collapse: BMC audit report had declared CST FOB ‘fit to use’ six months ago

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Mumbai Bridge Collapse Update: A Foot Over Bridge outside the iconic Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus railway station in Mumbai collapsed on Thursday evening killing six people and injuring several others. The ill-fated FOB was given fit for use certificate in an audit report submitted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) just six months ago.

Questions are now being raised over the safety certificate given by the BMC. The municipality appointed contractors who audited all the 314 bridges, skywalks and subways in Mumbai over the period of two years, a report by The Indian Express said.

I have sought a custody of documents related to the structural audit. Once I go through it, the further course of action will be decided Strict action will be initiated if negligence is found, BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta told the newspaper.

The FOB was constructed around 35 years ago and the last time a repair was done was in 2010-11, Officials said.

In 2016, under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the northern end of the bridge was taken up for beautification but not repairs. The plan included changing the tiles of the bridge and new paint, an official told The Indian Express.

The survey which declared the FOB as safe to use was started after the 2016 collapse of another in the outskirts of Mumbai. The state government had directed the survey of all bridges and ordered the agencies to finish it within three months, however the whole exercise was delayed.

It was in September 2018 that the survey report was tendered to the civic commissioner.

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In January 2019, BMC subsequently authorised repairs of more than 50 bridges, FOBs, flyovers and skywalks, spending Rs 65 crore.

Officials have said the bridge at CST which collapsed on Thursday had only been recommended for minor repairs in the structural audit report.

Out of the 314 bridges, the audit report had advised the demolition and reconstruction of 14 bridges that included five FOBs, major repair exercise for 47 others and minor repairs for 176 bridges. The rest of the 77 bridges were marked in sound condition.

As per the officials, in south Mumbai, only three FOBs which include Yellow Gate FOB (P D Mello Road) and two FOBs close to the Marine Lines railway station were to be rebuilt.

Although the approximate cost for the reconstruction or major and minor repair works is set at Rs 277 crore, the BMC has assigned Rs 108 crore for the same in 2019-20.

Work orders were recently issued for minor repairs, an official told.

The bridge, which links CST station, has two landings – one outside of Anjuman Islam school and the other landing at BT lane that leads towards the rear of Azad Maidan police station and Cama hospital.

Though the bridge is used by thousands, it is difficult to give the exact numbers of pedestrians who use this bridge immediately, an official told the Indian Express.