I was quite surprised at Mamata Banerjee’s blaming the Railways for delay in commissioning Majherhat Bridge. I am,apart from being in politics,a former Chief Engineer of Indian Railways. I was quite incensed and made inquiries from my own sources. Mamata has mixed 95% untruth
with 5% facts and dished it out. Here are the facts,simply put in layman’s language.

West Bengal PWD first proposed a ‘Bowstring Girder’ bridge for this job. Then,of their own,they changed it to a ‘Cable Stayed’ bridge which is quite a different kettle of fish and is much
more complicated. Indian Railways,a venerable institution of 167 years standing won’t pass a design lightly,least of all a cable stayed bridge. Still they approved the design,(with necessary changes) in the minimum possible time. But Railways insisted that the bridge
must be subjected to l instrumentation and load test. Mamata wanted the bridge to be opened in a hurry to light traffic. The Railways said nothing doing. Moreover,the Commissioner of Railway Safety (who is not a Railwayman) would not pass it.
It is important that
the bridge should be opened as early as possible. But not at the cost of Road and Rail traffic,no matter what someone’s political compulsions are.

This is the story in a nutshell.
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