iconimg Friday, September 04, 2015

Sidhartha Roy, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, August 03, 2009
Three weeks after a Metro pillar collapsed and killed six people at Zamrudpur in south Delhi, a portion of the road caved in and injured two persons less than 2 kms from the accident site. This time, it was the much-maligned BRT corridor where the accident took place. The accident happened on a yet-to-be-operational stretch of the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) Corridor when a portion of the road caved in, creating a seven feet wide crater.

The Delhi Government said it would order an inquiry into the incident.

This section of the BRT, between Moolchand and Delhi Gate, is expected to be opened in September. The first section of the BRT opened between Ambedkar Nagar and Moolchand last year. It faced a lot of criticism for a number of accidents and deaths on the corridor due to poor construction management and traffic chaos.

“We will order an inquiry and the guilty will not be spared,” Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said. “Accidents do occur, but we will have to find out what had actually happened today.”

The Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS), which is managing the corridor, is going to use ultrasonic equipment to find out the problem that led to the collapse.

But are these accidents a result of the rush to complete road and transport projects across the Capital before the Commonwealth Games next year? Is safety being compromised to meet deadlines?

Experts say both the Metro and now the BRT incident show that safety guidelines have been overlooked.

S.M. Sarin, former head of Road Traffic Safety, Central Road Research Institute, said the cave-in must have happened due a weak foundation. “The incident seems to have happened due to hurried work, poor quality of construction and bad supervision,” he said.

Dipak Mukhopadhyay, former engineer-in-chief of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, said there was rush to finish projects ahead of Games.

“It seems there is a Commonwealth Games phobia under which these agencies are working. Delhi Metro had used a bracket to support a cantilever pillar after it developed a crack instead of demolishing it and the BRT incident seems to have happened due to bad foundation work,” he said.

He said consolidating the foundation of a road was a prerequisite. “If it is not filled properly and not consolidated... the road would cave in,” he said.