Mumbai: Civic chief Ajoy Mehta orders re-auditing of 38 bridges

Updated: Mar 16, 2019, 18:39 IST | Arita Sarkar

Ajoy Mehta wants all bridges examined by Professor D D Desai's Associated Engineering Consultants to be rechecked; orders setting up of Bridge Inspection Authority

The remaining portion of the CSMT bridge was demolished by civic and fire authorities on Friday. Pic/Ashish Raje
The remaining portion of the CSMT bridge was demolished by civic and fire authorities on Friday. Pic/Ashish Raje

Apart from taking punitive action against those responsible for the collapse of the FOB, civic chief Ajoy Mehta has issues instructions for re-auditing of all the bridges that were audited by Professor D D Desai's Associated Engineering Consultants by a different structural auditing company. Senior civic officials said that based on the findings of the second auditing report, the BMC will decide on recovering payments that have been made to the Engineering Consultants firm so far.

While documents are yet to be found, officials from the bridges department said that the FOB dates back to 1988. When the BMC had given the contract to carry out a structural audit of 296 bridges, road overbridges and foot over bridges in the city to three contractors in 2016, the auditing firm had bagged the contract for 39 for a fee of Rs 65.18 lakh.

Bridge Inspection Authority
Mehta, in his report, also said that the firms which conducted the structural audits of bridges in the eastern and western suburbs will also have to re-examine their audit reports. The firms will have to submit reports to either confirm their previous findings or suggest further remedial measures. Mehta added that no additional payment will be made to them for this.

Other remedial measures include the appointment of a Bridge Inspection Authority which will be headed by a Chief Bridge Inspector. Mehta has directed Vinod Chitore, director of BMC, to appoint the authority within the next one month. This authority will be responsible for monitoring the inspection and maintenance of 374 bridges in the city.

Civic officials also said that they had called Neeraj Desai, heading the Consultants' firm, to the spot on Thursday night and asked him to submit a written explanation. He is yet to submit a response. Despite several calls and messages, Desai did not respond to mid-day's queries.

Remaining slab of CSMT bridge brought down
After the FOB collapsed on Thursday, the BMC had to decide whether the remaining portion of the structure should be removed. In order to figure out if it is stable, the BMC asked three independent auditors to give their opinion on it. They submitted their reports on Thursday morning where two of the three auditors found the bridge to be unstable and recommended its demolition. Fire officials and civic officials from A ward took up the task of bringing the structure down.

Also Read: Doctors train guns on Ajoy Mehta

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