<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It was in November 2015, that the 135-year-old Hancock Bridge near Sandhurst Road station was demolished by Central Railway and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. In the past two years now, there have been quite a few ideas proposed to rebuild this road-overbridge; which also included approaching the Army to construct it.In fact, in July 2016, the High Court directed BMC to seek help and the expertise of the Army “by way of last resort” for construction of a temporary foot-overbridge (FOB) at the site of the demolished Hancock bridge. Sources said that earlier this June, the Army informed the High Court that construction can be done provided there is availability of a clear site of at least 15-feet on either side.Yet, on ground, there is little progress. On October 31, when the Indian Railways and Indian Army decided to build FOBs at three different stations of Elphinstone Road, Currey Road and Ambivili; there was no word on the progress of how Hancock Bridge would be taken forward. Railway officials chose to pass the buck instead of mentioning the current status of the project.”We are taking help of the Army wherever needed. Union Railway Minister will be announcing the places where the Defence ministry will help us,” said Ashwani Lohani, Chairman Railway Board. Later, the announcement of FOBs, one each at Elphinstone Road, Currey Road and Ambivili, was made by Railway minister Piyush Goyal.Later, when Central Railway General Manager DK Sharma was asked if they will discuss with the Army about the possibility of a bridge at Hancock he said: “It is supposed to be built by BMC, ask them”.Earlier this June, the Army had stated to the HC that the Railways and BMC would have to provide the site free of encumbrances and subsequently they will carry out fresh reconnaissance to examine the feasibility of the site, work out construction time and prepare other details. They also said that the Railways will have to shut down rail traffic and power supply for a required period.”I have already complained to local police about the illegal demolition by the Railways. There was no structural audit done to prove that it had to be demolished,” said Kamlakar Shenoy, activist, who is following up on this issue.In the last two years, around 16 people have lost their lives at Hancock bridge post demolition. Many locals, including children, use the tracks to get across. This bridge was demolished as it had become too old and the CR was upgrading the power supply to 25,000 volt from 1,500 volt.

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Officials mum on Hancock bridge rebuilding, pass the buck instead