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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Slab collapse at Metro site kills 1, injures 16

Mumbai: A 50-feet-long concrete slab collapsed at the Metro railway's under-construction airport station around 4.35pm on Tuesday, killing at least one labourer and injuring 16 others, three of them critically. Guardian minister for the suburbs Naseem Khan, who informed the cabinet of the incident, said the slab slipped while it was being mounted on the scaffolding. 
    Minutes after the incident, locals and pedestrians rushed to rescue labourers trapped in the debris and called the fire bri
gade. The slab collapsed a few metres from the road and locals said casualties could have been higher if the slab had fallen on vehicles passing below. 
    The 12-km metro railway, being built by Reliance Infrastructure–led Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL), has been plagued by several mishaps from the outset. RInfra had appointed Hindustan Construction Company, which built the Bandra-Worli Sea link, as sub-contractor for the Rs 2,356-crore project. 



• Around 4.35pm, concrete was being laid on a scaffolding for a staircase and a slab at Andheri-Ghatkopar Road, near Leela Galleria, Sahar. The scaffolding slipped 

• The 25-foot staircase and concourse slab structure then came crashing down

• Accident left one dead and 16 others, all labourers, injured 

• Traffic on Andheri-Ghatkopar, Andheri-Kurla roads badly hit 


• Construction of Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro rail route began in 2008 

• The completion deadline of Dec 2012 was extended to March 2013; may be extended further 
Original Cost 
2,356 crore Estimated increase in cost so far: 30-40% 
Probe to determine if shoddy work caused Metro mishap 
Three Labourers Critical, Injuries Could Leave One Victim Paralysed 

    Tuesday's slab collapse at the Metro project has put the focus back on its construction quality. Sources said inquiries into the incident and inspections may push the deadline of the much-delayed project by a month or two. 
    Sahar police have registered a case against unidentified people under section 304A of the IPC for causing death by negligence. State health minister Suresh Shetty said the dead man and all the injured were labourers. "An inquiry has been ordered to find out whether the contractor's shoddy work caused the incident. We will decide on the compensation to be paid to the victims," he said. Indications were that chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who is scheduled to travel to Nashik on Wednesday morning, could visit the accident site later in the afternoon. 

    "We deeply regret the accident at the airport station Metro site, which is being constructed by our contractor, Hindustan Construction Company (HCC). Our emergency response team along with HCC staff is at the site to provide rescue and relief services which is the immediate priority for us. We will keep the media and affected parties posted as we obtain more information on the accident," a spokesperson from Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd said. MMOPL officials said they were making preliminary inquiries as to what went wrong in the sequence of construction of the slab, with HCC. However, HCC sources refused to comment. 
    MMRDA commissioner Rahul Asthana said, "The MMRDA is a minority stake-holder in the RInfra-led MMOPL. 
The state government will order an inquiry into the incident." 
    While a team of 3,000 labourers and engineers are working on the Metro project, about 50 labourers were present at the site when the slab fell. Sources said one labourer, the lone casualty, died while being taken to hospital. Three workers were taken to critical care units of the nearby SevenHills and Cooper hospitals. An eyewitness, Suresh Nair, who was withdrawing cash from a nearby ATM, said he heard a loud noise when the freshly-laid concrete slab started falling, trapping labourers below. The incident occurred towards Leela Galleria, close to the portion of the footpath of Andheri-Ghatkopar road, where a staircase for the proposed Metro was being built. "People were running helter-skelter as the concrete slab and iron sheets began falling," said Nair. 

    The debris and rescue operations created huge traffic snarls in the area for more than three hours. As rescue operations began, the traffic police deployed additional personnel as the incident coincided with the evening peak-hour. Vehicles were diverted to Kumaria junction through Sahar. "The Andheri-Kurla road was closed for traffic moving towards the Western Express Highway and diversions were put in place. We also circulated text messages advising people to take the Sahar road instead," said a senior traffic official. Major snarls were reported on arterial roads like Sahar road, Aarey road and in nearby areas leading to the Western Express Highway, including JB Nagar and Chakala. The road was reopened to traffic by late Tuesday night. 

(With inputs from Nitasha Natu and Sandeep Ashar) 
    The tragedy came up for discussion in the state cabinet. Ministers sought details of the cause and the casualties 
    The Andheri-Kurla Road was made available for traffic by late Tuesday, after debris was cleared 
CM Prithviraj Chavan may visit the site on Wednesday afternoon 
A case has been registered against unidentified persons under the Indian Penal Code's Section 304A (causing death by negligence) 
Major jams were reported on arterial roads such as Sahar Road, Aarey Road and areas such as Chakala and J B Nagar leading to the Western Express Highway 
TURNING A BLIND EYE TO SAFETY Construction-related tragedies have marred the city's quest to upgrade its infrastructure

May 14, 2008 
INCIDENT | Piling machine on the Metro rail site at Andheri toppled TOLL | One autorickshaw passenger was killed and the auto driver was seriously injured

July 1, 2011 
INCIDENT | A girder of the under-construction Mono rail fell while being launched on pillars at Chembur TOLL | Two labourers were killed on the spot and some others sustained injuries

July 8, 2011 
INCIDENT | A labourer fell off a beam at the Metro rail site in Andheri, once again bringing safety standards during construction work under the scanner TOLL | The labourer died

July 19, 2012 
INCIDENT | Thirteen concrete segments—weighing over 1,000 tonne—of the underconstruction Eastern Freeway Elevated Road fell at Wadala TOLL | One labourer was killed and seven injured


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