Lapse and collapse: on Mumbai’s pedestrian bridge accident

 

 

 

Lapse and collapse: on Mumbai’s pedestrian bridge accident

Mumbai’s creaking public infrastructure must be urgently upgraded
The pedestrian bridge that collapsed(ढहना/एकाएक गिरना) at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, leaving six people dead and several(कई ) injured(घायल), underscores(जांच करना/देखना) the irony of India’s race to development on creaking(चरमहराहट) urban infrastructure. It was only in September 2017 that there was a stampede(भगदड़/हड़बड़ी) at Mumbai’s Elphinstone bridge that left at least 23 people dead, an incident(घटना /आकस्मिक) that officials blamed(दोषी ठहराया/निंदा करना) on heavy rain and overcrowding(भीड़-भाड़/घिचपिच) on the rickety structure. Beyond such acute disasters, there is the chronic toll of eight people, on average, dying every day on the city’s railway tracks. This is a dismal(निराशाजनक ) image(छवि) for a metropolis(मुख्य नगर/राजधानी) that generates(उत्पन्न करना/पैदा करना) so much wealth, but cannot guarantee the safety of its public infrastructure(आधारिक संरचना/पूर्वावश्यकता) . In the first response to the CST incident, the Maharashtra government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) have launched action on the contractor who carried out repairs on the bridge five years ago, the structural(संरचनात्मक) safety(सुरक्षा) auditor who had certified the bridge to be in ‘good’ condition among a total of 39 bridges, and some civic(नागरिक) body officials. Such steps may serve to mollify(शांत करना) public anger(गुस्से ), and no one would argue(बहस) against(खिलाफ ) efforts(प्रयासों/कोशिशें) to fix accountability for lapses. However, far-reaching administrative reform is necessary to raise public confidence in the way government works. It is extraordinary(असाधारण) that the BMC is wiser after the fact, and has determined (निर्धारित)that the quality of repairs performed on the CST bridge was not ‘up to the mark,’ since it collapsed within six years. It has also closed several busy footbridges, virtually(वास्तव में/असल में) confirming(पुष्टि की) prolonged(लंबे समय तक) neglect of maintenance.

In a city where eight million passenger trips are made daily on an overburdened railway system, besides other modes of transport, the highest policy priority(प्राथमिकता) should be to raise levels of safety. In the wake of the bridge disaster(आपदा), the municipal corporation must explain(समझाना) how much of its annual budget of ₹30,692 crore for the coming year will go towards(ओर) improving(सुधार ) facilities(सुविधाएं) and safety for the majority(बहुमत/अधिकांश) of its citizens who ride trains and buses or walk. Mumbaikars badly need a new deal in the form of a modernised(आधुनिक ) bus system, with expansion(विस्तार/वृद्धि) of services that can be funded through a levy on private vehicles or on fuel. The move to privatise BEST bus services may result in greater pressure on other systems, reducing access and adding to the stress faced by citizens. Mumbai’s experience should serve as a warning to all fast-expanding(विस्तारशील) Indian cities governed by municipal systems that have low capacity and capability to create people-friendly infrastructure. Distortions(विकृति/तोड़ना-मरोड़ना) in urban policymaking in recent years are all too evident(प्रत्यक्ष/स्पष्ट) , marked by support for loosely defined(परिभाषित) smart cities and personal vehicles, at the cost of basic(बुनियादी /आधारभूत) interventions(हस्तक्षेप/व्यवधान) that will make the commons more accessible(सुलभ/प्राप्य) — roads, pavements, pedestrian facilities and public transport. The safe mobility of people must be prioritised.

 

 

Important Vocabulary

1. collapsed(ढहना/एकाएक गिरना)
Synonyms: break, cave in, crumple, disintegrate, drop
Antonyms: accomplish, achieve, fix, mend, straighten

2. stampede(भगदड़/हड़बड़ी)
Synonyms: panic, charge, chase, crash, dash
Antonyms: retreat, standing

3. incident(घटना /आकस्मिक)
Synonyms: circumstance, episode, event, fact, matter

4. mollify(शांत करना)
Synonyms: allay, alleviate, ameliorate, appease, assuage
Antonyms: aggravate, agitate, excite, incite, increase

5. extraordinary(असाधारण)
Synonyms: amazing, bizarre, curious, exceptional, fantastic
Antonyms: average, bad, believable, common, commonplace

6. virtually(वास्तव में/असल में)
Synonyms: basically, essentially, nearly, practically, around

7. structural(संरचनात्मक)
Synonyms: anatomical, architectural, basic, constitutional, skeletal

8. determined (निर्धारित)
Synonyms: decisive, dogged, purposeful, resolute, resolved
Antonyms: irresolute, undetermined, weak, yielding, changeable

9. argue(बहस)
Synonyms: contend, disagree, dispute, quarrel, quibble
Antonyms: agree, concur, give in, make peace, abstain

10. creaking(चरमहराहट)
Synonyms: groan, screech, squeak, chirr, crepitate

11. priority(प्राथमिकता
Synonyms: arrangement, preference, antecedence, lead, order
Antonyms: inferiority, last, subservience, unimportance

12. evident(प्रत्यक्ष/स्पष्ट)
Synonyms: conspicuous, indisputable, noticeable, obvious, palpable
Antonyms: concealed, doubtful, dubious, hidden, inconspicuous

13. expansion(विस्तार/वृद्धि)
Synonyms: development, enlargement, extension, increase, inflation
Antonyms: abridgment, compression, decrease, reduction, shrinkage

14. Distortions(विकृति/तोड़ना-मरोड़ना)
Synonyms: bias, exaggeration, lie, misinterpretation, misrepresentation
Antonyms: beauty, clarity, perfection

15. Distortions(विकृति/तोड़ना-मरोड़ना)
Synonyms: bias, exaggeration, lie, misinterpretation, misrepresentation
Antonyms: beauty, clarity, perfection

16. Disaster(आपदा)
Synonyms: calamity, catastrophe, collapse, crash, debacle
Antonyms: achievement, advantage, attainment, benefit, blessing

 

 

 

Credit To The Hindu News Paper

Mumbai’s creaking public infrastructure must be urgently upgraded
The pedestrian bridge that collapsed at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, leaving six people dead and several injured, underscores the irony of India’s race to development on creaking urban infrastructure. It was only in September 2017 that there was a stampede at Mumbai’s Elphinstone bridge that left at least 23 people dead, an incident that officials blamed on heavy rain and overcrowding on the rickety structure. Beyond such acute disasters, there is the chronic toll of eight people, on average, dying every day on the city’s railway tracks. This is a dismal image for a metropolis that generates so much wealth, but cannot guarantee the safety of its public infrastructure. In the first response to the CST incident, the Maharashtra government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) have launched action on the contractor who carried out repairs on the bridge five years ago, the structural safety auditor who had certified the bridge to be in ‘good’ condition among a total of 39 bridges, and some civic body officials. Such steps may serve to mollify public anger, and no one would argue against efforts to fix accountability for lapses. However, far-reaching administrative reform is necessary to raise public confidence in the way government works. It is extraordinary that the BMC is wiser after the fact, and has determined that the quality of repairs performed on the CST bridge was not ‘up to the mark,’ since it collapsed within six years. It has also closed several busy footbridges, virtually confirming prolonged neglect of maintenance.

In a city where eight million passenger trips are made daily on an overburdened railway system, besides other modes of transport, the highest policy priority should be to raise levels of safety. In the wake of the bridge disaster, the municipal corporation must explain how much of its annual budget of ₹30,692 crore for the coming year will go towards improving facilities and safety for the majority of its citizens who ride trains and buses or walk. Mumbaikars badly need a new deal in the form of a modernised bus system, with expansion of services that can be funded through a levy on private vehicles or on fuel. The move to privatise BEST bus services may result in greater pressure on other systems, reducing access and adding to the stress faced by citizens. Mumbai’s experience should serve as a warning to all fast-expanding Indian cities governed by municipal systems that have low capacity and capability to create people-friendly infrastructure. Distortions in urban policymaking in recent years are all too evident, marked by support for loosely defined smart cities and personal vehicles, at the cost of basic interventions that will make the commons more accessible — roads, pavements, pedestrian facilities and public transport. The safe mobility of people must be prioritised.

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