Mumbai: 'Cracked' bridge at Malabar Hill gets police, BMC on toes

Jul 05, 2018, 20:05 IST | Hemal Ashar

Malabar Hill resident's late-night message about Grant Road bridge sparks immediate action; all hands were on deck at Frere bridge all Wednesday

Mumbai: 'Cracked' bridge at Malabar Hill gets police, BMC on toes
A crack on the bridge. PicS/Bipin Kokate

Mumbai's bridge woes took on another dimension on Wednesday morning, with the Grant Road bridge, called Frere bridge, shut to traffic as soon as authorities were alerted to cracks on it. Incidentally, all is well now and the bridge was opened to traffic late last evening.

The chain of events though was set in motion on Tuesday night when Malabar Hill resident and well-known anti-mobile tower radiation activist, Prakash Munshi, received a message from a friend about cracks on the bridge. Munshi said, "In the past few days there have been several alarmist WhatsApp and unverified messages about public infrastructure, but this seemed genuine."

Traffic was diverted on Grant Road bridge
Traffic was diverted on Grant Road bridge

Police, please
Munshi spoke to PSI S Korbu of Gamdevi police station. "I was not worried that I would be laughed at or that the cops would take this flippantly," said Munshi. The activist, who is the bane of mobile tower companies, a familiar presence at many residential buildings struggling with problems of mobile towers on the terrace, said after he spoke to Korbu, he also sent a message to D ward Asst. Municipal Commissioner V Mote. Munshi added, "I received a call from D ward emergency at midnight, which was fantastic and unexpected. In fact, by morning, the bridge was closed and site inspections were on. He added, "There was also a tweet by Mumbai Traffic Police saying the road was closed and traffic diverted."

Speedy Gonzalez
Mote said, "Prakash Munshi was the first to alert me to the cracks on the bridge. I took precautionary measures, coordinating with the Western Railway, traffic police and the BMC's bridge department, just to ensure that there was no untoward incident." By late Wednesday evening, Mote said, everything was back to normal.

Korbu said, "After Munshi called us on Tuesday night, I told him to send pictures of the cracks on the bridge. There are a lot of WhatsApp messages sparking rumours and mischief, but we have to verify everything." Korbu then sent a beat marshall at night to check the bridge, who verified that there were cracks on it. "I had alerted the BMC. Everybody was working in tandem through the night," he said.

Korbu said, "Given the nature of social media, a few hours after Munshi's message and my alerting the control room, the BMC control room got calls. Apparently, the pictures had gone viral. Decisions must have been taken to close the bridge and divert traffic in the morning. Anyway, all's well that ends well."

Munshi brushed off the 'first' laurel saying, "The police and D Ward worked at the speed of lightning and we, citizens must applaud and appreciate their immediate action."

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