Reconstruction of Hancock Bridge Delayed Yet Again

Reconstruction of Hancock Bridge Delayed Yet Again

Officials from the Bridge Department have mentioned that the installation of heavy girders on the railway tracks for Hancock Bridge which was scheduled to commence on July 21 has been delayed. It is said that the railway authorities have denied permission for this project. 

Speaking to the Indian Express, an anonymous civic official said - “Railway authorities said they won’t be able to reschedule about 372 services running daily. They suggested we carry out the work at night. But it needs to be done during the day. So, work on July 21 will not take place.”

The Hancock Bridge was built during the British Indian rule and is situated between the Byculla and Sandhurst Road railway stations. The bridge was demolished in 2016 as it was considered dangerous and reconstruction was pending for two years after the High Court asked the BMC to cancel the contract offered to J Kumar Infraprojects which was also involved in a road scam at the time.   

Subsequently, an October 2019 deadline was set for the reconstruction of the Hancock Bridge following the appointment of a new contractor in February 2018. However, issues pertaining to land encroachment surfaced shortly after, leading to a further delay. 

Also Read - Hike In Budget To Construct Hancock Bridge

Recently, local activist Kamlakar Shenoy filed a PIL (public interest litigation) with the High Court asking for the construction work to be fast-tracked and expressed shock that the railways are denying permission for this project. “Why are they denying permission now when regular trains are not running? Now, with fewer trains this is the best time to execute the work,” he added referring to the current partial coronavirus lockdown and the closure of train services.  

Defending its position, Central Railway has refused to take the blame for the delay. Its Chief Public Relations Officer, Shivaji Sutar said - “On request from BMC, first block for partial work was operated in June second week. Block demand for remaining work was expected by end of June. But we received the demand on July 16. The demand includes daytime and all lines. Timings have been finalised as per their convenience and we are ready.” 

In February this year, it was said that the reconstruction of the Hancock Bridge will cost an additional Rs 25 crore. The civic body also said a month prior that it is looking to speed up the construction of the bridge, which is yet to come to fruition. 

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