Mumbai, Aug 4: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today announced a judicial probe into the Mahad bridge collapse following which three persons drowned and 19 others are missing.
Two state-run buses, in which 22 people were travelling, and several other vehicles got washed away in the swollen Savitri river near Mahad in Raigad district following collapse of a British-era bridge late on Tuesday. Three bodies were today recovered from the river.
"A judicial inquiry will be conducted," Fadnavis said replying to a discussion on the issue in the state Assembly. He said a team of IIT experts has been sent to the site today. Directives have been issued to conduct structural audit of old bridges, he said, adding that a preliminary structural audit will also be conducted.
In 2013, the then Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and then deputy CM had received complaints about the dilapidated bridge, he pointed out.
Leader of Opposition in Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said the government should expand the scope of search operation. A body was found 100 kms from the accident site. This shows that there's a need to extend scope of search operations, he said.
The government machinery showed negligence which led to the Mahad tragedy, Vikhe Patil alleged. He demanded that the PWD minister should own up responsibility and a judicial inquiry be conducted in the bridge collapse.
NCP MLA Ajit Pawar said a Sena legislator had a year ago, through a query in the Assembly, spoken of fears about a tragedy waiting to happen due to the dilapidated state of the British-era bridge. While replying to the query, PWD Minister Chandrakant Patil had said the bridge was technically sound, Pawar said. Chandrakant Patil was at fault, he alleged.