Mumbai: Now BMC's pending approval to axe 27 trees delays Hancock Bridge work

Updated: Dec 02, 2019, 07:51 IST | Prajakta Kasale | Mumbai

A month after blaming CR for stalling project, BMC says 3-month hold-up caused because it's trying to save as many trees as possible

One of the 27 trees that needs to be uprooted for Hancock Bridge; (below) girders at the site. Pics/Ashish Raje
One of the 27 trees that needs to be uprooted for Hancock Bridge; (below) girders at the site. Pics/Ashish Raje

Even as the BMC last month blamed the Central Railway (CR) for the delay in the reconstruction of the vital Hancock Bridge connecting Mazgaon and Sandhurst Road, the contractor's letter seeking approval to cut down 27 trees for the project was stuck at the civic body's Garden Department.

mid-day had on November 6 reported that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation accused the CR of seeking compensation at the end moment, delaying the work to restore the 140-year-old bridge demolished in January 2016. Later, the CR officials refuted the allegations saying, "There has been continuous progress from our side".

Girders at the site. Pics/Ashish Raje
Girders at the site. Pics/Ashish Raje

Now, it is the civic body nod that is needed to speed up the progress of the restoration project. The contractor wrote to the BMC's Garden Department three months ago seeking permission to chop down the trees to launch the girders, but a response is still awaited.

"BMC had to take permission from the Garden Department. Now there is a delay as permission is still pending. Even the Central Railway is delaying nod to replace the overhead wires. The lethargy of the government bodies makes the life of the citizens miserable," said Kamlakar Shenoy, an activist who had filed a PIL in the high court against
the delay.

Issuing clarifications, a BMC official said they are trying to save as many trees as possible. There are 27 trees on either side of the bridge and the BMC has so far chalked out a plan to save 26 of them, the official added. The one that needs to be uprooted is in front of a restaurant on the east side in Mazgaon, but the BMC is trying save that too, said the official.

Amid the unending hurdles, the BMC and CR officials met last week to work on the Temporary Arrangement Drawing (TAD) that is required to launch the girders by assembling them on the site, a Bridges Department official said.

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