Pedestrian bridge collapses in Mumbai, 5 killed and 36 hurt

A pedestrian bridge stands hollow after parts of it collapsed in Mumbai, India, Thursday, March 14, 2019. (AP)
Updated 14 March 2019
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Pedestrian bridge collapses in Mumbai, 5 killed and 36 hurt

  • 36 injured people were hospitalized, some in serious condition
  • Some motorists who were driving under the bridge when it collapsed were among the injured

NEW DELHI: A pedestrian bridge connecting a train station with a road collapsed in Mumbai on Thursday, killing at least five people and injuring more than 30, police said.
Police officer Praveen Satpal said 36 injured people were hospitalized, some in serious condition. Some motorists who were driving under the bridge when it collapsed were among the injured, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.
An audit of the bridge’s safety was carried out last year, said Maharashtra state Education Minister Vinod Tawde. He told reporters that some minor damage was detected and had not been repaired before the collapse of the bridge.
Thousands of commuters have used the 39-year-old bridge daily to reach Mumbai’s bustling Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus railway station.
Maharashtra state’s top elected leader, Devendra Fadanavis, ordered an inquiry into the collapse of the structure.
In 2017, a stampede broke out on a crowded pedestrian bridge connecting two railway stations in Mumbai, India’s financial and entertainment capital, killing at least 22 people and injuring 32.
India’s public infrastructure projects are substandard and collapse often in part because of corruption that leads to the construction of weak structure foundations and poor maintenance.
Rescuers ended their search operation at the collapsed bridge about two hours after it fell, Satpal said, adding that authorities were sure there was no one trapped because the rubble had been cleared away.


Pakistan bracing for austere budget under IMF, finance chief says

Updated 25 May 2019
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Pakistan bracing for austere budget under IMF, finance chief says

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is preparing a belt-tightening budget to tame its fiscal deficit, the de facto finance minister said on Saturday, adding that both civilian and military rulers agreed austerity measures were needed to stabilise the economy.
But Hafeez Shaikh, Prime Minister Imran Khan's top finance adviser, declined to say whether the military's hefty budget would be cut following last week's agreement in principle with the International Monetary Fund for a $6 billion loan.
The IMF has said the primary budget deficit should be trimmed by the equivalent of $5 billion, but previous civilian rulers have rarely dared to trim defence spending for fear of stoking tensions with the military.
Unlike some other civilian leaders in Pakistan's fragile democracy, Khan appears to have good relations with the country's powerful generals.
More than half of state spending currently goes on the military and debt-servicing costs, however, limiting the government's options for reducing expenditure.
"The budget that is coming will have austerity, that means that the government's expenditures will be put at a minimum level," Shaikh told a news conference in the capital Islamabad on Saturday, a few weeks before the budget for the 2019/20 fiscal year ending in June is due to be presented.
"We are all standing together in it whether civilians or our military," said Shaikh, a former finance minister appointed by Khan as part of a wider shake-up of his economic team in the last two months.
In the days since last week's agreement with the IMF, the rupee currency dropped 5% against the dollar and has lost a third of its value in the past year.
Under the IMF's terms, the government is expected to let the rupee fall to help correct an unsustainable current account deficit and cut its debt while trying to expand the tax base in a country where only 1% of people file returns.
Shaikh has been told by the IMF that the primary budget deficit -- excluding interest payments -- should be cut to 0.6% of GDP, implying a $5 billion reduction from the current projection for a deficit of 2.2% of GDP.
The next fiscal year's revenue collection target will be 5.55 trillion rupees ($36.88 billion), Shaikh told the news conference, highlighting the need for tough steps to broaden the tax base.