That was the title of the movie and book on Operation Market Garden — the largest paratroopers cum ground force operation in military history carried out in 1944. The Allies needed to capture three bridges but they failed. But in India, particularly in Mumbai, every suburban train commuter needs to “capture” bridges at least four times in his daily sojourn. The first issue is that when an accident takes place, all authorities compete to point out who is not responsible. If the bridge belongs to and is the responsibility of the Indian Railways, then will the municipal authorities also cede the mandatory 25 metres space in the periphery as in the case of rail lines? How about a board on each bridge that this bridge is under this authority and if there are borders within the bridge, that is, at which point the responsibility of one authority ends and the other takes over, that too should be demarcated on the floor of the bridge.
The same can be applied for flyovers, sky walks etc. How about a special “bridge insurance” with only those who hold suburban train passes eligible for a claim in case of a mishap?
Again, the unnecessary load contribution by hawkers and other unauthorised stuff that one always finds on these bridges should be cleared at once.
To evenly spread the load, there must be a central barrier and pedestrians must keep to the left in both directions. Can the bridges take the load that has increased by more than three times since they were built? These are questions that need to be answered.
T R Ramaswami Mumbai
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