It’s no more a matter of just granting compensation to the kin of the dead and consolation to the injured. Action is needed to fix culpability for the tragic event where another foot overbridge collapsed in Mumbai, killing six people and injuring scores more. The death toll may have been more had the traffic signal in the road below been green at peak hour. Unless heads roll at the highest levels, another infrastructure disaster near Mumbai’s busy CST railway terminus will have taught us nothing. Routine inquiries mean nothing as both the railways and the BMC are expert at passing the buck when it comes to fixing responsibility. It’s a city’s and a government’s primary responsibility to maintain infrastructure and ensure citizens’ safety, more so in a lifeline like Mumbai’s suburban railway system.
The civil engineering behind the infrastructure in big cities is far below international standards, especially given how many more people use such facilities in India. Building and maintenance is a byword for corruption in civic bodies and their contractors. To make matters worse, a so-called “safety audit” was conducted on this overbridge after the incident at the Andheri railway station last year and the one at the Elphinstone suburban station the year before. To provide for higher footfalls in keeping with the city’s population is a necessity in any urban planning in India. Given the experience with dual control over infrastructure between the railways and the city municipal body, the ideal way is for a central authority to take over everything to do with the movement of people in a metropolis.