K’taka HC takes cognisance of Metro pillar collapse, raises safety concerns
A Karnataka high court bench comprising chief justice PB Varale and Justice Ashok S Kinagi passed the order taking in consideration multiple media reports and opined that the incident “raised safety concerns” for the public at large. “These news items prompted us to take cognizance of the incident referred to wherein there was an unfortunate death of a lady and her toddler son and the condition of the roads”, said the court.
The Karnataka high court on Friday took suo motu cognisance of the metro pillar collapse in Bengaluru in which a mother and her toddler son were killed.
The incident occurred on January 10 when Tejaswini (28), a software engineer by profession was travelling with her husband and two children to work when an under-construction pillar of the Bengaluru Metro fell on the motorcycle they were riding on.
Tejaswini and her 2.5-year-old son were killed after a steel pillar at an under-construction metro line collapsed on them on Tuesday morning. Her husband and a one-year-old child, who were travelling on the motorcycle, however, escaped uninjured in the accident.
A bench comprising chief justice PB Varale and Justice Ashok S Kinagi passed the order taking in consideration multiple media reports and opined that the incident “raised safety concerns” for the public at large. “These news items prompted us to take cognizance of the incident referred to wherein there was an unfortunate death of a lady and her toddler son and the condition of the roads”, said the court.
While taking cognizance of the incident, the high court raised concerns about “safety measures prescribed while undertaking such construction work” and whether such safety measures are “part of the tender document or contract agreement”. The HC further asked “If safety measures are not a part of the tender document or contract between the parties ...are there any attempts made to set up the measures by way of government order or notification”.
If such measures are prescribed, “what is the mechanism for periodical supervision and check-up in ongoing construction activity”; “whether any accountability is fixed for failure to maintain the safety measures, either on the contractor, agency undertaking the work, or the officer concerned supervising the work,” asked the court.
A day after the metro accident, Bengaluru police launched criminal investigations against three Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) officials and six representatives of Nagarjuna Constructions Company (NCC) Ltd, the contractor for the 38.44-km KR Puram-Airport line.
The first name on the list of accused is the contractor (NCC Ltd). The company’s joint director Prabhakar, director Chaitanya, senior project manager Mathai, project manager Vikash Singh and supervisor Lakshmipathi have also been named. The suspects from BMRCL are deputy chief engineer Venkatesh Shetty, executive engineer Mahesh Bandekari and joint engineer Jaffer Sadiq, according to the police.
Police said all the individuals had been summoned for questioning. “We will question them on the basis of inputs given by experts from the Indian Institute of Science, the Forensic Science Laboratory, the BMRCL and officials from the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s road and flyover departments,” said a senior officer.
According to the BMRCL, a bunch of vertical TMT bars were erected in a circular column to build pillar number 218 for Namma Metro’s 38.44-km KR Puram-Airport line under Phase 2B collapsed, resulting in the death. The column weighing several tonnes that fell about 40 feet along the busy road in HBR Layout at 10.45 am, said officials.