Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion woes de­lay Han­cock Bridge re­con­struc­tion fur­ther

DNA (Daily News & Analysis) Mumbai Edition - - FRONT PAGE - DNA Cor­re­spon­dent cor­re­spon­[email protected]­

It’s been three years since the Han­cock Bridge was de­mol­ished, but the au­thor­i­ties are still no closer to re­con­struc­tion of an al­ter­nate bridge at the spot. The rea­son for this de­lay is the fact that the Bri­han­mum­bai Mu­nic­i­pal Corporation (BMC) hasn’t man­aged to re­move en­croach­ments along the site. The re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion process is also be­ing com­pli­cated fur­ther be­cause of the Bom­bay High Court’s di­rec­tion re­gard­ing Mahul, and the civic body says it doesn’t have many al­ter­nate ac­com­mo­da­tion fa­cil­i­ties avail­able.

The 137-year-old Han­cock Bridge be­tween Maz­gaon and Sand­hurst Road sta­tions was de­mol­ished in Jan­uary 2016 af­ter it was de­clared un­safe by Cen­tral Rail­way. Re­con­struc­tion was then stalled for al­most two years, as the con­trac­tor ap­pointed by the BMC was black­listed. Fresh ten­ders were then floated, and the project was awarded to Sai Projects in Fe­bru­ary 2018, and work was sup­posed to be com­pleted by the year-end. The to­tal cost of re­con­struc­tion of the Han­cock bridge was to be Rs 51.70 crore. But while 80 per cent of pil­ing work has been com­pleted, the re­main­ing work has stalled due to en­croach­ments.

Once the pil­ing work is com­pleted for the en­tire stretch, gird­ers can be launched there. En­croach­ments are es­pe­cially a prob­lem in B and E wards. B-ward has al­ready re­moved and re­ha­bil­i­tated peo­ple who had en­croached, but there still re­main over 30 shanties in Eward, and their re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion is still pend­ing.

“The process is go­ing on. We will re­move all the en­croach­ments soon,” a BMC of­fi­cer said.

The bridge was de­mol­ished in 2016

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