89-year-old Gadhi river bridge at Panvel closed to traffic
URAN-PANVEL LINK Light vehicles can use the new bridge but heavy vehicles cannot use either
After the Mahad bridge collapse, the Panvel authorities are cautious.
On Thursday, the Panvel public works department (PWD) office wrote to Panvel city police station asking it to shut the 89-year-old bridge across Gadhi river. On Friday, the bridge was shut.
Motorists will now use only the new bridge to travel from Panvel to Uran. But, heavy vehicles will not be allowed to use the new bridge. They will have to use alternative routes which are longer.
The PWD office said that the bridge is increasingly getting dilapidated and there is a possibility of an untoward incident taking place.
Transport minister Diwakar Raote has ordered the audit of all old bridges in the state following the collapse of the Mahad bridge.
The 150-metre bridge was constructed by the British in 1927 to travel from Panvel to Uran. This was the only bridge connecting the two talukas for years. The life expectancy of the bridge has long expired, as per official records.
In 2006-07, a new bridge was built next to the old dilapidated bridge. Till Friday, both the bridges were being used for traffic movement on opposite sides.
Kunal Patil, a local resident, said: “Despite the Gadhi river bridge in Panvel on its last legs, there was regular flow of traffic on it. The two lanes were used by motorists to travel from Panvel towards Uran. The new bridge was used for travel from Uran towards Panvel.” The old dilapidated bridge connecting Panvel and Uran has been shut since Friday.
Senior police inspector of Panvel city police station Sunil Bajare and Panvel Traffic senior police inspector Vijay Kadbane inspected the bridge on Friday and shut it for traffic.
Kadbane said, “Traffic on the old bridge has been stopped following intimation by the PWD officials. The to and fro traffic between Panvel and Uran is only on the new bridge.”
He added, “As a precautionary measure, we have also stopped the plying of heavy vehicles on the new bridge as well as Kalundare bridge close by.
PWD deputy engineer DP Jadhav, “There is a need for structural audit of the old bridge on Gadhi river and hence we have stopped traffic on it. We also asked the police to have two-way traffic on the new bridge to ensure smooth flow of traffic.”
SM Kamble, assistant engineer of PWD, said: “We have sent a request for structural audit of the bridge to the department. Once the process is completed, we expect the audit to be completed in 10 days.”
The shutting down of the old bridge will increase traffic snarls in the area.
Girish Mhatre, a local resident, said: “Despite the presence of two bridges, the area regularly witnesses traffic snarls. Now with only one bridge catering to traffic, it is going to get worse.”
He added, “There is a big fish market near the bridge which has people coming from all over the region. They park their vehicles in a haphazard manner. There is also the issue of several vendors sitting on the roads and even the bridge. This will lead to further traffic snarls.”
A 20-year-old woman and her boyfriend were arrested for stealing 35 tolas of jewellery and Rs1.5 lakh cash from a house at Seawoods.
On July 19, the woman named Sweta went to Sakhumoreshwar Apartment at Sector 44A in Seawoods and asked the watchman if she could get some job. The watchman told her that a resident wanted a help.
Sweta started working at the house of Arjana Malan. When Malan asked her to submit her details, Sweta said that she will give it in a couple of days.
On July 20, Malan went out for around half an hour. Sweta allegedly stole Rs 21.52 lakh worth of gold and diamond jewellery and cash and fled. Malan complained to NRI coastal police station about the theft.
According to deputy commissioner of police zone I, Prashant Khaire, “It was found that neither Malan nor the building watchman had any information on Sweta. This created obstacles in tracing her.”
Senior police inspector Shekhar Bagade of NRI coastal police station and his team checked the CCTV footage of the area. In one of the footages, Malan recognised Sweta.
From the footage, the photograph of the accused was taken and sent to all police stations.
“Investigations revealed that the accused’s full name was Sweta Shankar Hadappan and that she was 20 years old. She hailed from Hudadli village of Chincholi taluka in Gulbarga district of Karnataka,” said Khaire.
A police team was sent to Karnataka, but they learnt that she had returned to Mumbai. She was finally found near Vashi railway station along with her boyfriend.
Their search led the police to stolen property. They were then detained and arrested. The police have recovered 35 tola diamond studded gold jewellery and Rs1.50 lakh.
Khaire said: “Sweta confessed to being involved in similar crimes. Her modus operandi has been to take up a job as a domestic help and whenever the opportunity arises, to steal valuables from the house and flee.”
Khaire has announced a cash prize of Rs 10,000 to the investigating team for solving the case.
Three people from Kalwa were book for illegal sand mining for Rs 2.45 lakh on Friday. All the three accused are yet to be arrested.
The accused are residents of Retibunder in Kalwa and that they are suspected to be in the age group of 20-30 years.
On Friday, officials from collector office got a tip off about the illegal sand mining going on Retibunder area of Kalwa.
They raided the spot with help from Kalwa police.
A police inspector from Kalwa police station said, “An officer who told us about the illegal activity but when we reached the spot, the accused fled. We questioned the locals who gave us the first names of the accused who have been charged under relevant sections.”
It was found that the trio had removed a 35 brass of sand which has market value of Rs2.45 lakh.
The police officer added, “The trio did not have permission for sand mining. We have seized the sand and also the machines used to remove the sand. We are tracing the accused as we have got their mobile numbers.”