Mumbai: Just 40 shanties delaying crucial Hancock, Carnac Bunder repairs
Officials from the BMC's Bridges Department say they can finish the Hancock Bridge work within six months of encroachments being removed from the spot
The work on two crucial bridges in south Mumbai, the Hancock and the Carnac Bunder bridges, is stuck, all because of 40-odd shanties that have encroached upon the entrance of the Hancock bridge in Mazgaon. Civic officials said that the fate of Carnac Bunder bridge also hangs in the balance, since it cannot be demolished until the Hancock bridge is constructed and opened for public use.
Civic officials from the bridges department said that 80 per cent of the piling work for Hancock bridge has been completed, which is the first stage of the project, and the remaining can only be done once the encroachments have been removed. It is now the responsibility of the ward officials to remove these shanties.
It is now the responsibility of the ward officials to remove these shanties. Pic/Atul Kamble
While 10 of the encroachments come under the jurisdiction of the B ward, a majority of them fall under the E ward. A couple of months ago, B ward officials had removed the encroachments, of which four that were eligible for rehabilitation were moved to Mahul. In the E ward, however, the process is yet to be completed.
Thirty seven of the encroachments still remain in E ward, of which 23 are eligible for rehabilitation. "We have sent the proposal to the estate department last week. It is yet to be decided where the people who are eligible for rehabilitation will be accommodated. The remaining will be removed from the area," said Nitin Arte, assistant municipal commissioner of E ward. He added that the shanties will be demolished within the next couple of months.
The encroachments are among a list of hurdles Hancock bridge has faced. After the bridge was dismantled in January 2016, the construction work was put on hold due to lengthy litigation. The contractor who had been awarded the project had approached the Bombay High Court after being blacklisted by the BMC for being implicated in the roads scam. The contractor had then approached the Supreme Court, which directed BMC to appoint a new contractor to build the bridge in November 2017.
Demolishing Carnac Bunder
Once the encroachments have been removed, civic officials from the bridges department guarantee that the work on the Hancock bridge can be completed within six months. After that, the Central Railway can demolish the Carnac Bunder bridge, which is in a dilapidated state.
"Since the bridges are in close proximity, one has to be functional before the other one is demolished to avoid traffic issues. Both the bridges are important for east-west connectivity," said a senior civic official.
The work on Carnac Bunder bridge is already running behind schedule since BMC had awarded the work order on August 10, 2017. "We are finalizing the design of girder fabrication of the Hancock bridge, after which we will launch the girders. We hope to finish the work by the end of this year, so that the work on Carnac Bridge can start soon after," the official added. In its budget this year, BMC has allocated Rs 30 crore for the Hancock Bridge contract, which will cost a total of Rs 39 crore, and Rs 10 crore for the Carnac Bunder bridge contract, which will cost a total of Rs 41 crore.
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