In the second big accident at an infrastructure project site in less than two months, one person was killed and 16 others injured on Tuesday when a staircase of the under-construction Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar metro collapsed at Andheri-Kurla Road, one of the roads that led to the international airport.
Three of the injured workers are in a critical condition.
With several infrastructure projects underway, Mumbai has witnessed 10 deaths on sites over the past four years. On July 19, a labourer working on the eastern freeway project was crushed to death after a girder fell on him. Tuesday's accident once again highlights the lack of adequate safety measures at sites.
Apart from delaying the metro project, scheduled to be ready by March 2013, by a few months, the accident led to traffic snarls that extended to the Western Express Highway.
The accident took place at a metro station - Airport Road Station - near The Leela. Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd, which is building the city's first metro line, had sub-contracted the construction of the station to Hindustan Construction Com-pany. Around 4pm, workers were pouring concrete on the station staircase when the staircase and the landing collapsed and the debris fell on the workers.
Though MMPOL and HCC refused to comment on the reason for the accident, officials said incessant rain could have weakened the scaffolding, which held the structure in place.
"We deeply regret the accident at the Airport station site, which is being constructed by our contractor HCC," MMOPL said.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, the nodal body for infrastructure projects, said it would look into the accident. "If there was negligence, we will take action against the contractors," said metropolitan commissioner Rahul Asthana.
The police have registered a case of negligence against HCC. J Giram, senior inspector of Sahar police station, said: "We have registered a case for causing death due to negligence. Investigation is in progress." No arrests have been made.
Over 100 police personnel were rushed to the spot.
"Our priority was to clear the debris and ensure no one was trapped," said N Chavan, zonal deputy commissioner of police.
Andheri-Kurla Road, which was closed for traffic moving towards the highway, was reopened at night after the debris was cleared.