Gurugram police book NHAI, contractor for damage to Rampura flyover
Taking cognizance of the damage to the flyover at Rampura Chowk, where a large chunk of concrete had fallen from the central lane on Monday morning, the Gurugram police registered a case against the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and its contractor at the Kherki Daula police station. The case was registered on Wednesday under sections 336 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on the complaint of a group of RTI activists under the banner of ‘Adhikar Manch’, who alleged that poor quality construction material had been used by the contractor, in connivance with NHAI officials, to line their pockets.
It is perhaps for the first time in Haryana that a police case has been registered against the NHAI and its contractors for damage to a road. Earlier in April, the newly constructed flyover at Hero Honda Chowk had developed a large hole that had forced the highways authority to rope in IIT Bombay to suggest remedial measures. The police action is significant as it comes just a fortnight after the Supreme Court expressed strong concerns over the large number of deaths caused in the country due to potholes and damaged roads.
The Gurugram police, meanwhile, said that the case was registered after an initial probe suggested that “damage to the road had endangered life and personal safety of commuters (Section 336, IPC) and the acts were done by several persons in furtherance of common intention (Section 34, IPC)”.
Early Monday, a chunk of concrete fell from the flyover at Rampura Chowk, 11km from Rajiv Chowk, causing a large hole on the road. Due to the damage, the central lane of the flyover and the underpass below it had to be closed, leading to frequent jams and congestion. The road has been repaired, but will still take three or four days to become operational.
The Delhi-Jaipur Expressway, also called NH-48, from Jaipur up to Kherki Daula is maintained and operated by Pink City Expressway Private Limited.
NHAI officials, meanwhile, said they had not received any notice from the police in this regard, but would join the probe and share all requisite information. “Our immediate priority was to get the road repaired and that has been done. We have not received any notice, but being a government agency, we will fully cooperate with the police,” NN Giri, project director, Delhi-Jaipur Expressway, said.
Giri also said that the NHAI as an organisation only deals with the concessionaire and the entire responsibility, regarding the construction and maintenance of the highway, lies with Pink City Expressway Private Limited.
The concessionaire, however, denied that poor quality construction or bad design were responsible for the damage to the road, instead attributing it to the rampant overloading of vehicles. “The initial probe has revealed that on December 9, an overloaded truck’s tyre burst on the flyover and was changed there. That led to loosening of the concrete and caused the hole,” LR Singh, vice-president of the concessionaire, said.
Singh further said that the road was built by a contractor, who will also be asked to share the details with regard to design and construction.