Sharad Pawar slams at Centre’s bullet train project

Mumbai: NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Friday hit out at the Centre, saying that the government has Rs 1.25 lakh crore to spend on bullet train but does not have money to improve the basic infrastructure of Mumbai locals in which thousands of people travel each day.

Addressing a gathering here, he said, “There are around 11-15 rail incidents each day. We need to adopt new measures to ensure people’s safety. Instead of spending Rs 1.25 lakh crore on bullet train the state and the center should focus on strengthening the two lines of Mumbai local.”

His remark comes a day after a foot overbridge collapsed in Mumbai claiming the lives of six people.

Furthermore, he stated, “This incident is a cause of worry for all of us. Around one crore people travel by train, each year at least around three thousand people are killed and around two thousand are injured each month due to rail incidents.”

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis too on Friday said that a high-level inquiry will be conducted in the overbridge collapse.

Six people were killed and over 30 injured after a portion of the overbridge near the crowded Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus railway station collapsed on Thursday evening.

The injured were admitted to three nearby hospitals — St George Hospital, G T Hospital and Bombay Hospital.

On the other hand, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) too filed its preliminary report in the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) bridge collapse case, outlining that diligent structural audit could have avoided the tragedy.

BMC also ordered the suspension of an executive engineer and an assistant engineer along with placing one working and two retired engineers under departmental inquiry.

As per order of BMC, the Executive Engineer AR Patil who supervised the structural audit work in 2017-18 and Assistant Engineer SF Kakulte who supervised the repair work in 2013-14 have been suspended with the order of a full-fledged departmental inquiry to be carried out against them.

The preliminary report has observed that the consultant has carried out the inspection of the said bridge in December 2016 and in his bridge inspection report has marked the structural members for the bridge, referring to paint, joint, deflection, cracks, spalling as ‘Good’.

In its findings, the preliminary report has highlighted that the structural auditor has not raised any alarm for anticipated failure of structural members and not recommended any specific repairs as well as had reported the overall condition of the bridge as ‘Good’.

The preliminary report has concluded that “the structural audit was not carried out correctly and major lapses are observed in conducting the structural audit of the bridge on the background of the sudden collapse of the bridge within a short period of submission of a report on August 13, 2018”.