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Delhi Metro bridge collapse kills 6
CM sets up panel to probe mishap

Akhila Singh
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 12
In the second such accident involving the Delhi metro rail in less than a year an overhead concrete bridge under construction gave way and collapsed today, crushing six people to death and injuring 14. The incident took place near the city’s posh southern residential locality of Greater Kailash.

Within hours Delhi Metro Rail Corp (DMRC) managing director E Sreedharan resigned, saying he “owned full moral responsibility” for the accident. However, the Delhi government rejected his resignation.

Meanwhile, the Delhi police has registered a case under section 304A of the IPC for causing death due to a rash and negligent act. The police said it would also include charges under section 288 relating to negligent conduct with respect to pulling down or repairing a building; section 337 that relates to causing hurt by an act endangering the lives or personal safety of others; as well as section 338 that relates to causing grievous hurt by an act endangering the lives or personal safety of others.

The elevated metro tracks under construction will link the capital’s central secretariat, seat of the central government, with Badarpur near Faridabad in Haryana. DMRC officials said they expected today’s accident to delay work on the line by at least three months, pegging the estimated loss at about Rs 6 crore.

The Delhi CM has ordered a probe into the accident. A four-member high-powered committee has been set up and asked to submit its report within ten days. The panel comprises Prof AK Nagpal of IIT, Prof BR Bose of the Delhi College of Engineering, Steve Laurie and Rajan Katharia, chief of DMRC’s design wing.

It was around 5 am when workers of construction firm Gammon India were placing a prefabricated concrete girder between two pillars near LSR College. This was the line’s longest girder, having a length of 31 metres. The operation is largely automated with a huge 80 feet high crane placing a girder between two pillars. Last October two people lost their lives and several other were injured in a metro accident in East Delhi’s Laxmi Nagar area.

According to the DMRC officials, today’s incident took place between pillars 66 and 67 after the latter’s ‘pillar cap’ was affected. Construction workers at the site told the police they had noticed cracks on this pillar a few weeks ago, adding some repairs were undertaken and the green signal to continue work was then given.

“We saw a big crack in the pillar and I’m not able to understand how the DMC engineers failed to notice it. They carried out a few minor repairs and resumed work on the pillar. It was bound to fall,” said Ram Kumar, an eyewitness and a resident of the area.

DMRC, however, maintained no complaint mentioning the above was registered with them.

A total of ten segments were to be erected on the stretch near Greater Kailash and five had already been completed. When the sixth segment was being erected the crane that places the girder collapsed due to imbalance, bringing the girder also down with it. All those killed were involved with the construction of the metro tracks. The impact was such that water supply lines in the locality were ruptured.

DMRC has cordoned off the area and hopes to restore at least one-way traffic on the road underneath the metro line by 6 am tomorrow. Restoring traffic is important as the road leads to Nehru Place, one of the busiest commercial hubs in the city.

Of the six who died two were killed on the spot with the others later succumbing to their injuries. Some of the seriously injured were rushed to the trauma centre at AIIMS. Over 32 workers were engaged at the construction site at the time of the accident.

Metro authorities said they had mobilised a sufficient number of workers for undertaking rescue operations.

Meanwhile, the Delhi government has announced Rs 5 lakh as compensation to the relatives of those who lost their lives in the mishap. Another Rs 2 lakh will be given to those who were seriously injured.

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2nd major accident involving Gammon India

New Delhi, July 12
The collapse of a part of an under construction Delhi Metro line here Sunday was the second accident involving Gammon India, the construction company, in as many years.

Two people were killed and several injured when eight pre-cast blocks caved in at the flyover on Panjagutta in the heart of Hyderabad due to heavy rains September 9, 2007.

The flyover was being constructed by Gammon India.

A technical experts committee appointed by the Andhra Pradesh government in its report found negligence on the part of Gammon India and Tanikella Integrated Consultants and civic authorities as the cause of the accident.

The inquiry panel had recommended action against Gammon India, which was the engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) contractor for the project.

It found that the construction company had failed to fill the excavated trenches for laying the pipelines with stone quarry as per the standard procedure.

Six people, including two employees of Gammon India, were arrested last year.

In Delhi, six people were killed and 14 injured around 5 am when a part of the elevated under construction Metro track came crashing down near Kailash Colony in south Delhi on the Central Secretariat-Badarpur section slated to open by September 2010 when the Commonwealth Games are to be hosted in the city. — IANS

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Metro accidents dateline

May 11, 2009: A 400-tonne crane fell on a car near Jor Bagh. The family that was travelling in it escaped unhurt.

October 19, 2008: A crane to place concrete slabs collapsed in Laxmi Nagar, claiming two lives and injuring 30 others.

July 18, 2008: A malfunctioning crane at a metro site near Ram Monohar Lohia Hospital dropped debris on a passing car. The driver was trapped inside the car and sustained multiple fractures, another passenger sustained minor injuries.

January 21, 2008: A labourer died at Laxmi Nagar. The earth caved in while he was carrying out burrowing work.

August 28, 2007: A crane driver died after a concrete block fell on him due to a technical failure at a Delhi metro construction site in Mayur Vihar.

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