Army engineers to build three commuter bridges in Mumbai

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on January 09, 2018

The Maharashtra government has roped in the Indian Army to build three railway bridges, including the one at Elphinstone Road station in Mumbai region.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who visited Elphinstone Road station with Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, said on Tuesday that the new bridge would be constructed by Army Engineers and will be ready for use by end of February 2018.

The State government and the Railway Ministry had faced flak when a stampede on the foot overbridge at Elphinstone station on September 29, left 23 people dead.

‘Not army job’

A retired Indian Army officer with engineering background told BusinessLine that it is not the job of the army to build such bridges in peacetime. Army engineers have the expertise to build temporary bridges used for a short time for moving men and equipment. After a specific tactical objective is achieved, such bridges are dismantled.

But in Mumbai, the bridges have to last several decades. The building of such long-term infrastructures are not expected from Army Engineers, the retired officer said.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal thanked Defence Minister Sitharaman and the army for the help.

However, the move was also criticized on the social media. Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, who is a former army officer, said the army's job was to train for war, and not to be used for civilian works. Defence resources should not be used for civilian jobs, he Tweeted.

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Published on October 31, 2017
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