Update on Oct 25, 2009
The Central Railway and Thane Municipal Corporation were involved in a blame game on Saturday, a day after a concrete girder of a bridge fell on a local train in Thane. The train services were restored by afternoon while one more person succumbed to injuries on Saturday, taking the toll to three.
Gopal Dhari (69), a resident of Kalwa in Thane, succumbed to injuries at Parkurti Hospital at Kalwa on Saturday morning.
The CR blamed the TMC for the mishap. “For this accident, the TMC was entirely responsible. They had a contract with RITES for supervision and safety and a private contractor for construction work,” spokesman S Mudgerikar told a news conference.
“Two months ago, Ved Prakash, the officer on special duty, had written a letter to the TMC that there is a crack in the first girder, it should be replaced immediately. He also wrote that since 2006, the CR has given 56 blocks to them for construction work. It also mentioned that in place of seeking any solution, the executive was putting pressure on the Railway through politicians.”
Mudgerikar said though the CR had declared 30 hours for rescue work, the work was completed in 24 hours. “The up and down fast lines were restored by 3.30 am. While the up slow line was restored by 8.50 am, the down slow line was restored by 11.45 am.”
CR sources claimed general manager BB Modgil had personally monitored the work.
Catch 22 for Railways
The railway is in a catch 22 as far as the Thane-Kopri bridge is concerned. After the toppling of one of the girders, questions are being raised about the stability of three other girders.
Even in case they are found to be unstable, only one girder that is resting on trussing could be removed, while nothing can be done about the other two without bringing the train traffic to standstill for a long period. The 43-metre-long girders, weighing 132 tonnes, can only be removed by cranes positioned on the tracks.
This could mean very long hours of mega block. Expediting the completion of the bridge appears to be only way out but with lodging of the first information report (FIR) against contractor Ajaipal Mangal and Company, the prospect of commencing the work appears bleak.
Source: Express India
Because of Railway track was closed between Thane to Ghatkopar for more than 24 hours, there was huge traffic on Eastern Express Highway. Shivsena and MNMS were seen on Toll Naka’s managing traffic and letting people pass without paying any toll. Both the party workers carried flags to pass the message. That was nice opportunity for any political party since there are people from all over the Mumbai at Toll Nakas passing by. That day they had wasted more than 3 hours crawling on that highway and small relief like this from political party will leave lasting impression.
Motorman R Ramachandran was trapped inside the engine compartment for several hours and could not be saved. The other casualty was a commuter, a Central Railways spokesperson said.
Three injured victims were in a critical condition and being treated in a hospital.
Rescue workers were engaged in removing the debris and clearing the route for traffic.
The accident took place near the busy Thane station from where all trains entering Mumbai pass. Fortunately, the train was bound for Kalyan and not Mumbai. During the morning peak hours, the trains going to Kalyan or such destinations are almost empty while those coming to Mumbai are packed with passengers.
Thane municipal commissioner Nandakumar Jantre said a probe would be conducted to ascertain the cause of the collapse. Those responsible for poor maintenance of the water pipeline bridge will not be spared, he said.
Railway minister Mamata Banerjee has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the next of kin of the dead, one lakh for the seriously injured and Rs 10,000 for people with minor injuries. The train services were restored later in day.