‘Ailing’ rail overbridge in Margao caught in a war of ownership

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ROQUE DIAS | NT Senior Reporter
MARGAO
A railway overbridge in Margao built some 26 years ago has been ailing for quite sometime and a panel of engineers suggested some immediate correctional measures to shore up its position.
And the flyover has been caught in a war of ownership.
Consequent upon the reports suggesting immediate repairs, PWD works division XIV (national highways) has fixed an inspection by the PWD and the KRC of the railway overbridge at the Margao new market on September 16.
Sources said the engineers from Porvorim submitted their reports to the PWD last month suggesting that expansion joint replacements are urgently needed for the overbridge to prevent severe structural damages and to avoid any untoward incident. “This replacement of expansion joints should have been done at least seven years ago. If neglected, it can pose dangers,’’ said one of the engineers who carried out the inspection.
Thousands of vehicles ply on this important overbridge, which has developed minor cracks underneath. The overbridge has road depressions and potholes.
This has been the first inspection even since the overbridge had been constructed 26 years ago.
The engineers, who inspected the overbridge for nine days in July, submitted their reports in August to the PWD principal chief engineer and the Union ministry.
The PWD sought the inspection of the flyover be carried out next week to adopt correctional measures and also to submit a report to deputy collector Ajit Panchwadkar.
Panchwadkar had demanded the inspection after chairing a meeting with the authorities concerned following complaints from a few local activists who claimed that the flyover has become a danger to vehicle users.
“We are having minor repairs to the overbridge like filling up of the depressions and levelling of the road surface,’’ executive engineer of works division XIV ( highways) Rajendra Kamat said.
The overbridge is embroiled in a war of its ownership. The maintenance of the overbridge is done by the PWD. However, officials on condition of anonymity have said that there are no documents to prove that the flyover had been handed over to the PWD by the Konkan Railway Corporation after constructing it with a sizable funding from the state government.
The KRC too does not have records to suggest that the flyover had been handed over to the PWD.
“Though these records are presently not available, I am sure that the overbridge had been handed over to the PWD. We are searching the documents,’’ said deputy general manager (KRC public relations), Margao, Baban Ghatge, who contacted the Mumbai office (engineering section) to confirm this ‘fact’, but in vain.
A senior railway official insisted that the overbridge had been handed over to the PWD works division VI (roads), but the claim has been disputed by the concerned PWD section.
There are 13 big and small railway overbridges in Goa built by the KRC on its route.
“The flyover is maintained on humanitarian ground. Huge funds cannot be used for it since there are no documents to prove that it belongs to the PWD,’’ an engineer said on condition of anonymity.
However, the electricity bill of the flyover streetlights had been paid by the KRC till last year, the sources said.
Sometime back the electricity department snapped the connection as the KRC as well as the PWD refused to pay it over ownership issue.