The tottering overbridge at Tatanagar. (Animesh Sengupta)
An abandoned and dilapidated overbridge has become a cause of concern for passengers frequenting Tatanagar railway station.
Chunks of plaster falling on their heads a very real threat, with two such instances reported in the recent past, passengers have called on the railway authorities to repair the old bridge, which once connected Burmamines to the station.
“It is the responsibility of the railway authorities to ensure safety of passengers. The lack of repair and maintenance of the old bridge is a threat to passengers,” said Arun Ghosh, who was recently hit by a block of concrete that fell on him from the old bridge while he was going to platform number 1.
Notably, passengers prefer to avoid the existing footbridge connecting platform number 1 with other platforms and instead prefer to walk to platforms 2, 3 and 4 through the western end (Chakradharpur end). They do so in order to avoid the staircases that leads to the footbridge. It is easier to move with luggage from the Chakradharpur end of platform number 1 to the other platforms, the only hitch being that the route entails walking below the old bridge on the way.
Exposed iron rods and pillars of the old bridge and rusting girders are proof of its sorry condition. The overbridge has been standing virtually abandoned ever since a new bridge became operational next to it a decade ago.
“When it rains one cannot stand under the bridge as water leaks from various places. We have brought this issue to the notice of the railway authorities but to no avail,” said S.M. Kumar, another passenger and a frequent traveller. Kumar is also a member of a body which works for the welfare of railway passengers.
Citing an example, a local railway source said recently, a family moving with their luggage had a narrow escape when a slab of concrete fell from the dilapidated bridge. The debris fortunately fell on the luggage they were carrying.
Senior divisional commercial manager of Chakradharpur railway division K.N. Biswas, who also doubles as a railway spokesperson, said there were plans to convert the old overbridge into a footbridge when the second entry point to the railway station from the Burmamines end was made operational.
“The old overbridge will undergo a complete makeover soon as it would be converted into a footbridge so that passengers entering the railway station from the Burmamines end conveniently reach different platforms. We also have plans of installing escalators, connecting the platforms with the footbridge,” said Biswas.
The Singhbhum Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), a leading trade outfit of Kolhan region has decided to take up the issue with the Chakradharpur division soon.
“It is a matter of concern as the dilapidated bridge might invite a mishap at any moment. It is the responsibility of the railways to ensure safety of passengers. We would take up the issue with senior authorities of Chakradharpur so that necessary repair and maintenance work is carried out until such time the overbridge is renovated,” said Suresh Sonthalia, a senior functionary of SCCI.