Respond in two weeks on pillar collapse: HC tells govt, Metro Rail
The accident occurred on January 10 near HBR Layout in the city when the reinforcement cage of pier number 218 of the KR Puram-Airport metro line collapsed on a motorcycle, killing two people. The BMRCL, facing flak over the incident, roped in IISc to investigate the reason behind the accident.
Bengaluru: The Karnataka high court on Tuesday asked the state government and the Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) to respond within two weeks to a public interest litigation (PIL) taken up by the court on its own over the collapse of a Metro pillar which killed a woman and her two-year-old son.
The high court on January 13 had taken suo motu cognisance of two incidents — death of a woman and her two-year-old son, and the formation of a sinkhole due to ongoing work of the Namma Metro project — and ordered the initiation of a PIL petition to examine the safety measures in place while executing the project.
In its first hearing of the case on Tuesday, a bench comprising Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice Vishwajit Shetty also ordered issuing of notices to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the BMRCL contractor Nagarjuna Construction Company over the pillar collapse.
On January 24, the IIT-Hyderabad team submitted a report in which it found lapses in the supporting structures responsible for the reinforcement cage collapse in Bengaluru’s HBR Layout. The accident occurred on January 10 near HBR Layout in the city when the reinforcement cage of pier number 218 of the KR Puram-Airport metro line collapsed on a motorcycle, killing two people. The BMRCL, facing flak over the incident, roped in IISc to investigate the reason behind the accident.
The Bengaluru police sought IIT-Hyderabad to find the cause of the mishap. “Initially, we wanted IISc to be roped in. But we came to know that IISc has been giving advice to the BMRCL including drawing and design. We thought there would be a conflict of interest if we use the same people. So, we decided to get IIT-Hyderabad professors,” a senior police officer had told HT.
According to the IIT Hyderabad experts, lack of adequate support and improper design of the supporting structures led to the collapse of the under-construction metro pier. “It’s the responsibility of the BMRCL. They should have asked why there was no additional support. But probably because these people have done it so many times all over Bengaluru, they were depending partly on their luck and partly on their expertise, instead of relying on what is in the engineering textbooks,” the officer added.
Prof J M Chandra Kishen of the civil engineering department at IISc, who conducted the inquiry, and submitted the report to the BMRCL had also found that inadequate support structure for the tall reinforcement cage was the main reason behind the collapse of a metro pillar.
Urban experts called for legal and political accountability in such incidents. “In my opinion, if only the contractor is held accountable, I would count that as a bad outcome. The right outcome is to hold someone at metro accountable. All the evidence shows that the metro didn’t do anything right. The metro didn’t have clear standards for safe movement of vehicles and pedestrians in the zones of its work. The government is trying to pass the buck to the contractor. This happens because there is no independent regulator,” Urban expert Ashwin Mahesh said.