A day after three workers were crushed to death and six injured at the construction site of the Sahar Elevated Access Road in Andheri (East), there is little clarity on what caused the accident.
On Thursday, neither the planning agency, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), nor the airport operator, Mumbai International Airport Limited (Mial), were ready to take responsibility for the collapse of the under-construction roadway.
“MMRDA has nothing to do with the mishap since Mial is constructing the stretch of the Sahar elevated road where the mishap has occurred,” said Rahul Asthana, metropolitan commissioner, MMRDA.
Dilip Kawathkar, MMRDA’s joint project director (public relations), MMRDA, said the section of the project from the Western Express Highway to Hyatt Regency hotel was being constructed by the development authority and the part from the hotel to the international airport Terminal-2 was being carried out by Mial.
Incidentally, both agencies in two separate tenders had handed over the contract of the work to Larsen and Toubro (L&T).
Refusing to go into the reasons for the mishap, Mial said their immediate focus was the treatment of those injured and helping kin of the deceased. “At this time, it is very difficult to mention the actual reason that led to accident. We are going to form a team comprising various experts to ascertain the cause. Once the team submits its report, we will decide our next course of action,” said a spokesperson, adding that the inquiry panel will consist of airport officials, L&T technicians and officials from the nodal planning agency for the project.
The primary scope of the investigation, Mial said, would be whether the slab slipped owing to “human error” or a “fault with the construction materials”. “These questions can be answered only after the debris is cleared and a safety audit is conducted,” said an airport official.
The official said the findings of the police investigation would be crucial in assessing the cause of the accident.
3 labourers on Life-support, condition critical: docs
Mumbai: Of the six injured labourers, three are battling for their lives, said doctors.
Suresh Prasad, 32, Mantu Prasad, 45 and Birendra Das, 28, are on ventilator support as they have sustained severe head injuries.
Suresh and Mantu are admitted in the intensive care unit (ICU) of SevenHills Hospital, Andheri.
Doctors said Suresh was still unconscious. “Mantu has suffered severe head injury
and internal bleeding in the body. He has sustained multiple fractures of the limbs,” said Dr Anuj Clerk, critical
care intensivist, SevenHills Hospital.
Another labourer, Dhirendra Das, 25, is admitted in the ICU of Holy Spirit Hospital, Andheri. Doctors said Das’s condition was critical and he was on life-support system.
Das, a resident of Bihar, had started working at the project only 15 days ago. “This was the third time he came to Mumbai for work. He always worked at the same site,” said his brother Nandkishore Kumar, who also works at the site.
“I got a call at midnight about the accident. I was on morning duty and was asleep at home. As soon as I heard that my brother was injured, I rushed to the hospital,” he said.
The skull of Bihar resident Ram Balidas, 44, was completely fractured in the accident. His body, along with Santosh Das, 26, and Jaichandra Mandal, 30, was found under the construction debris. They were all brought dead to Cooper Hospital at Vile Parle.
An autopsy was conducted at the post-mortem centre of the hospital. “The report said that all the three have died due to extensive trauma, a result of multiple injuries. Their limbs were severely fractured,” said a doctor from the centre, requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Meanwhile, doctors at SevenHills Hospital operated on Rajesh Yadav, 23, another labourer who has sustained limb fractures. Doctors said his condition was stable post the surgery.
No lessons learnt: Contractors walk away without punishment
Mumbai: Even as authorities are busy passing the buck over Wednesday night’s mishap, past experience suggests that this won’t be the last accident at an ongoing infrastructure project.
The latest accident adds up the total casualty at public infrastructure site to 12 in the last four years, with seven accidents occurring at Metro sites alone.
After every accident at its project sites, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) reiterates that safety measures will be taken to curb such instances, but only ends up penalising contractors.
L&T, which was overseeing the work on the stretch of the Sahar Elevated Access Road where the collapse took place, had paid a penalty of Rs50 lakh for an accident at the under-construction monorail site in July 2012.
In September last year, when an escalator bridge at Marol fell killing 1 person, the contractor concerned was asked to cough up a penalty of Rs10 lakh.
When a man died after a girder of the under-construction Eastern Freeway collapsed in Wadala in July 2012, the contractor was fined Rs1 crore.
But despite so many accidents, no contractor has been blacklisted or banned from continuing work. “In many projects, main contractors allot part of work to sub-contractors and mishaps occur due to their negligence. At such times, the main contractors are supposed to take necessary action against these sub-contractors. However, MMRDA ensures that every possible action is taken against contractors, but we do not have much scope in PPP projects,” said a senior MMRDA official.
A study into the Marol accident revealed that a cavity at the base along with incessant raining led the under-construction bridge to gain additional weight. “The mishap could have been averted if the contractor had not ignored basic safety issues,” said an expert.