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Politics over Mumbai bridge collapse begins, Congress seeks Goyal's resignation

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Mumbai, Mar 15: The political blamegame over the overbridge collapse in Mumbai began with the ruling BJP government in Maharashtra assuring "strict action" against those found to be responsible for the mishap, while the Congress demanding the sacking of Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.

It needs to be noted that the Indian Railways has already made it clear that the upkeep of the collapsed foot over bridge near the Chhattrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai was the responsibility of the BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation).

File photo Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal

The Congress held the BJP-led Central and state governments responsible for the bridge collapse, saying they are "criminally culpable" of inaction and also demanded the ouster of Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said he was deeply saddened to learn about the Mumbai bridge collapse.

"Modi Government and Maharashtra government are criminally culpable for inaction leading to repeat tragedies - 29/9/2017 - Elphistone Stampede. 3/7/2018 - Andheri Bridge Collapse. Railway Minister's tall claims of audit have failed time and again. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal must resign or be sacked," he said on Twitter.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi offered condolences to the families of those killed in the incident and prayed for speedy recovery to the injured.

[Mumbai: Foot over bridge collapses; 6 dead, 36 injured; CM announces Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia]

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who visited the spot of the accident, assured strict action against those found responsible for the mishap and said a high level inquiry has been ordered.

"It is unfortunate. I have ordered for a high level inquiry. A structural audit of the bridge had earlier been done and it was found to be fit. Even after that if such incident happened, it raises question on the audit. Inquiry will be done. Strictest action will be taken," Fadnavis told media.

He also announced an ex-gratia compensation of Rs 5 Lakh each to the families of those who died in the incident and compensation of Rs 50,000 each to the injured.

Congress leader Milind Deora had also raised questions on the safety audit that was carried out six months ago. He said an FIR should be filed under IPC Section 302 (murder) should be filed againt BMC officers responsible for the negligence.

[Mumbai bridge collapse: PM Modi condoles loss of lives, says "Deeply anguished"]

State minister Vinod Tawde, however, said the bridge wasn't in a bad condition. "It required minor repairs for which work was underway. Why was it not closed until the work was completed, will be probed," Tawde was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

A structural audit of 296 bridges in the Mumbai was conducted by the BMC last year. During the audit, it was found that 18 bridges would have to be demolished and rebuilt. The list included 10 major bridges and eight foot over-bridges, some belonging to the British era.

Six people were killed and over 30 injured after a major portion of a foot overbridge near a train station in south Mumbai collapsed on Thursday evening.

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