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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Delhi Metro bridge crash kills 6

Cracks In Pillar Had Been Reported, But Given All-Clear By Engineers

New Delhi: In a virtual repeat of the Vikas Marg incident nine months ago, six people, including an engineer, were killed when a pre-fabricated concrete segment of an under-construction Metro viaduct collapsed along with a portion of the girder launcher on Sunday morning.
    Fifteen people were injured in the incident that occurred on the intersection of Lala Lajpat Rai Path and Kalka Devi Marg. It was just providence that the accident occurred at 4.40 am. This road is one of the main spines of the city and leads to Nehru Place, a commercial and official hub of the city. It's also the gateway to many south Delhi colonies and an alternative to BRT and the GK-II route. If the collapse had happened at any time of the day during the week, it would have meant huge casualties.
    The impact of the 200-tonne mass was such that the road below caved in. Local residents and workers at the site said the pillar which collapsed had earlier developed cracks and work had been stopped for two months to get it checked. DMRC chief E Sreedharan admitted the fact but said a committee had inspected the pillar and ruled out anything serious. Work had resumed about two weeks back.
    As for the possible reasons behind the incident, he said it could have been caused due to a design fault or the fault of a contractor. The material, too, could have been inferior, he said. Observers say that in the rush to meet the June 2010 deadline for Commonwealth Games, staff strength may be getting diluted, leading to lax supervision.
We made no mistake, claims Gammon India
New Delhi: The Delhi Metro bridge collapse happened within 24 hours of a minor accident on the Vikas Marg stretch when a jack fitted on a pillar, which had collapsed last year, burst.
    Till late evening, the body of a worker was still trapped in the debris. The dead were identified as Gammon India site engineer Anshuman Pratihar (28) and workers Niranjan (18), Pappu (25), Amit (30), Badan Singh (35) and Bhan Singh (32). The injured were rushed to the AIIMS trauma centre, Safdarjung Hospital and Moolchand Hospital. The police have registered a case of causing death due to negligence under 304 (A), 288, 337, 338 of the IPC. Gammon India is executing the project for the DMRC.
    The DMRC has instituted an inquiry into the incident and the report will be
submitted in 10 days. Sreedharan, while submitting his resignation taking moral responsibility, said: "A project of this dimension and complexity has not been attempted in the country so far and the people have very high expectations from the DMRC. I openly take a challenge that no other organization takes a standard of safety higher than DMRC. But an accident is an accident and even one casualty is too many.'' Gammon India vice president Umesh Gupta refused to comment. "But there is no mistake from our side. Let's wait for the report,'' he said. Mohanlal, deputy divisional warden of Kotla Mubarakpur, told TOI: "We reached around 5.20 am. There were 19 workers at the site and we pulled out six bodies. Three others are still trapped, two on the ground and three on top of the launcher. There were initial indications of the man trapped underneath being alive but now it seems he is either unconscious or dead.'' The Delhi government has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the next of kin of those dead, Rs 2 lakh for the seriously injured and Rs 50,000 for those injured. TNN
Centre mulls safety panel
Concerned over the spate of accidents at construction sites, the Centre has now proposed a safety commission, which will spell out the norms and their methods of implementation. Urban development secretary M Ramachandran, who rushed to Zamrudpur on Sunday morning after the mishap at the Metro site claimed six lives, told TOI, "once we have the norms in place, all projects in urban areas will follow them. We are hopeful of this happening soon to ensure safety at work sites." TNN

    E Sreedharan, DMRC
chief, resigned owning moral responsibility for Sunday's incident. However, chief minister Sheila Dikshit refused to accept his resignation

A project of this dimension and complexity has not been attempted in the country so far and people have very high expectations... No other organisation has a standard of safety higher than DMRC's. But an accident is an accident and even one casualty is too many—Sreedharan

CRUSH HOUR: The road under the bridge caved in as the 200-tonne concrete slab and girder launcher came crashing down. FULL COVERAGE, P 9 

FATAL FALL: Policemen at the accident site


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