Varanasi flyover tragedy: Bridge Corpn officials booked, probe team collects samples
A case was registered against the officials of UP Bridge Corporation (UPBC) on Wednesday for dereliction of duty after a part of an under-construction flyover collapsed in Varanasi.lucknow Updated: May 17, 2018 10:31 IST
A case was registered against the officials of UP Bridge Corporation (UPBC) on Wednesday for dereliction of duty after a part of an under-construction flyover collapsed in Varanasi on Tuesday.
Even as the two teams constituted by chief minister Yogi Adityanath and deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya visited the site to carry out investigations, officials of UPBC and Varanasi district administration engaged in a blame game over the incident.
“A case has been registered against Bridge Corporation officials and employees who were working on the site during the incident under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), Section 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), of the Indian Penal Code following a complaint by roadways police outpost in-charge,” senior superintendent of police (SSP), Varanasi, RK Bhardwaj said.
He, however, did not specify the number of officials against whom the case has been registered.
“A team of field unit is investigating the matter and strict action will be taken against those responsible for the incident,” he said.
“I had carried out a joint inspection with UPBC officials in February to look into the problem of traffic jam on the road along the construction site. UPBC officials were asked to follow safety measures but they did not take any precaution. We have registered a case against UPBC officials for not taking safety measures,” the SSP said.
UPBC managing director Rajan Mittal, however, blamed the Varanasi district administration officials for the tragedy.
“Traffic movement should not have been allowed underneath the bridge. It’s a very congested area. We had written several letters to the police and administration authorities to regulate and impose traffic restrictions around the construction site. But our requests went unheeded,” Mittal said.
Meanwhile, the three-member probe committee led by agriculture production commissioner RP Singh visited the spot on Wednesday and gathered inputs from officials and eye-witnesses.
A well-placed source familiar with the developments said the team collected samples of cement, iron rods and other material used in the construction of concrete beam.
“The samples are likely to be sent to IIT-Kanpur or any other IIT for testing,” he said.
Chief minister Yogi Adityanath had constituted the committee on Tuesday asking it to submit its report within 48 hours.
A three-member technical committee comprising PWD chief engineer YK Gupta, joint managing director, UPBC, YK Sharma and chief engineer, Allahabad, also began probe into the incident.
The committee was constituted by deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the relatives of the people who lost their lives or sustained injuries in the incident were given away compensation on Wednesday.
A team led by superintendent of police (traffic) Suresh Chand Rawat carried out a drone survey of the spot to collect inputs for investigation. “We used a drone to create a video of the site and the beam to investigate the cause of the incident,” Rawat said.
A crime branch team also reached the spot and clicked pictures of the beam.
NEGLIGENCE OR SYSTEMIC FAILURE?
Varanasi: Failure of UP Bridge Corporation authorities to ensure adequate safety measures during construction could have led to flyover tragedy in Varanasi on Tuesday, experts said.
According to civil engineering experts at IIT-BHU and other institutes, absence of cross-beam connectivity and ensuring it in a hurry, failure of bearing and lack of safety measures led to the collapse of the concrete beams.
Rishabh Jain, an architect and an alumnus of IIT-Roorkee, who carried out an inspection to find out the cause of the incident said: “The beam is so heavy that it can’t fall by itself. Many more such precast beams are placed on other pillars of the flyover. It seems that the levelling procedure of the beam by placing jack underneath it was being carried out. Perhaps, some problem might have occurred in the levelling jack which led to the incident.”
He said the girders that fell didn’t have cross-beam connectivity.
Prof Vrind Kumar of civil engineering department at IIT-BHU said the collapse of two beams from the under-construction flyover was a systemic failure.
“It is a case of systemic failure and it will not be prudent to label the incident as just a technical failure,” said Prof Kumar.
“Security measures were compromised in a bid to complete the project on time due to political compulsions,” he added while holding the district administration equally responsible for the mishap.
Prof Ramji Agarwal, emeritus professor at the department of civil engineering, IIT-BHU, said: “I haven’t visited the site. Going by the pictures that appeared in the newspapers, it seems there was some problem during adjustment of girders after they were placed on bearings. There may be other reasons too.”
“Standard safety measures should be strictly followed in big constructions. While the construction is in progress, traffic should be diverted to other routes. The area along the construction site, which may be affected in case a beam falls, should be cordoned off after proper assessment,” he suggested.
An engineer in UP Bridge Corporation, who did not wish to be named, said no work was being carried out on the girder. “Cross-beam connectivity work was underway on other pillars. Teams are trying to find out the causes which led to the incident,” he said.