Pune: The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) is verifying the claims of a man who claims to be the owner of the land where 187-year-old Amrutanjan Bridge stands in Khandala.
The man approached the MSRDC after it called for objections before demolishing the bridge, currently a property of the railways as per government records.
The MSRDC maintained that the British-era bridge must be pulled down to make the Mumbai-Pune Expressway which passes from under the bridge safer. Twenty people submitted their suggestions and objections in July.
MSRDC Executive Engineer PS Auti told Sakal Times, “The man submitted his views saying he is the owner of the land on which the bridge has been constructed. He also submitted 7/12 land extracts. We have sent the land document to the Revenue Department to ascertain its genuineness as well as records of the land.”
Though not in use since the MSRDC built another bridge parallel to the old one while constructing the Expressway, the Amrutanjan bridge over the past few years is a spot that has become accident-prone, leading to fatalities and causing congestion.
Sudhir Thate (73), a resident of Sadashiv Peth, who has been fighting for several years to demolish the bridge, said, “The bridge has become a cause for several accidents. Therefore, it should be demolished immediately. Next to the bridge, there is a U-turn as well as slopes, which should be levelled.”
Rajendra Joshi, a businessman from Katraj, who often travels on the Expressway, said, “I have survived in an accident once there. It becomes difficult for drivers to control the vehicles there due to a sharp turn. And when there is an accident, it becomes a nightmare as the lanes get blocked and police find it difficult to take cranes to the spot.”
Why was it named Amrutanjan Bridge?
British officer Captain Hughes, responsible for developing railway tracks between Mumbai and Lonavla, built the bridge in a year’s time in 1830. The bridge later became a vital link between Pune and Mumbai. It became famous as the Amrutanjan Bridge, thanks to a giant outdoor advertisement of the popular headache-relief balm Amrutanjan, which was put up on the facade of the bridge.