Tuesday will go down in the history of the city as a day of trauma. Within 24 hours, the financial capital experienced a bridge collapse that caused train delays, another fire at the nefarious Kamala Mills compound, a fire at Virar station, waterlogging and a bizarre bus accident, raising the question: How much longer before the city implodes?
At around 7:30 am, a portion of a road-over-bridge at Gokhale bridge collapsed on the railway tracks in Andheri, bringing the Western Suburban railway line to a grinding halt for more than seven hours. Five people were injured and one – the mother of a six-year-old – is said to be in a critical state in Cooper Hospital.
Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, who was in town to inaugurate the FOB at Parel-Elphinstone, rushed to the site of the Andheri crash. He instructed that a new committee be formed to study the health of all railway bridges.
Restoration work began almost immediately, and the first train for CSMT on the Harbour Line left at 2:15 pm. However, the fast lines on WR became functional only on 8:25 pm. Slow services resumed at 10.30 pm.
Service on Central Railway was late by 25 to 30 minutes. A portion of Gokhale bridge will be partially closed for repairs on Wednesday.
The impact spilled onto the Western Express Highway and BEST had to run around 84 additional services to make up for the traffic snarls.
BMC blamed the collapse of the bridge on the Railways, saying they failed to maintain it. Vijay Singhal, BMC’s Additional Municipal Commissioner (Eastern Suburbs) says the civic administration continuously gives money to the Railways for maintenance. “The ownership of bridges lies with the BMC, but parts of bridges that fall under the Railways are maintained by them,” said Singhal. He added that even structural audit is done by the Railways.
Heavy rains lashed the maximum city on Monday night and Tuesday, bringing the city to a grinding halt. Waterlogging was recorded at many of the usual places, including the low-lying areas of Hindmata, Sion, Parel, Nehru Nagar, Kurla, Bhandup, Wadala, Dharavi, Andheri and Mulund.
Locals on Central Railway were also running behind schedule by more than 15 minutes due to water-logging on tracks.
In a bizarre incident, a double-decker bus crashed into an overhead railing near Kalina. Luckily no casualty was reported.
A minor fire broke out on the second floor of Kamala Mills compound due to faulty electrical wiring. The fire took place near the offices Trade World and was doused immediately with the help of a fire engine and water tanker.
A huge spark also started a small fire at Virar station at around 6 pm, which was doused using fire extinguishers.
Almost all departures from Mumbai airport were delayed on the average by an hour, while two-thirds of the flights arriving at the were behind schedule.
BMC recorded around 13 instances of small house collapse all over the city, with five observed in the Eastern suburbs.
(with agency inputs)