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India Flyover collapse in Varanasi a natural disaster: Top official

07:15  17 may  2018
07:15  17 may  2018 Source:   hindustantimes.com

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In the latest development, 18 bodies have been recovered and three have been safely rescued from the debris of collapsed flyover in Varanasi , reported ANI. The death is toll expected to rise. Around 7 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF)

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LUCKNOW -- The state-owned Uttar Pradesh Bridge Corporation (UPBC) on Wednesday suspended work on all projects it is working on, a day after 20 people died when part of an under-construction flyover it is building in Varanasi, the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, collapsed, crushing vehicles and pedestrians underneath.

As the police registered a first information report for the collapse against UPBC officials, managing director Rajan Mittal described the collapse as a natural disaster, linking it to a recent thunderstorm, and blamed the district administration for not acting on requests to divert traffic from the area.

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Varanasi flyover collapses : Atleast 12 dead, 50 feared trapped. VARANASI /LUCKNOW: A portion of an under construction flyover , near the railway station here, collapsed today killing at least 16 persons while more were feared trapped under the debris, officials said. Top Trending Terms.

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In an interview, Mittal said work on all ongoing UPBC projects would restart only after safety norms at the construction sites are examined to avert a repeat of the Varanasi incident.

The UPBC is constructing 115 bridges and flyovers worth Rs 3,464 crore and 68 railway over bridges (ROBs) worth Rs 2,056 crore across the state in the financial year 2018-19.

Mittal said the UPBC had constituted teams of engineers and experts that will visit the sites to review the construction of the bridges, flyovers and ROBs.

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"The teams will see if the security norms set by the state government have been implemented at the construction sites. The quality of the materials used in the construction of the bridges and flyovers will be also checked and there will be no construction till the teams complete the review works and submit reports within three days. Senior engineers of the corporation will analyse all the reports and construction work will commence only after they give the green signal," Mittal said.

A bus and about half-a-dozen other vehicles were crushed by the huge concrete slab of the flyover that toppled over them on Tuesday near Cantonment railway station in Varanasi. The portion of the flyover that collapsed had been constructed in February.

"Traffic should not have been allowed underneath the bridge...We had written several letters to the authorities to regulate and impose restrictions around the site. But our requests went unheeded," Mittal said.

Mittal ruled out poor quality of construction material as a probable cause of the collapse, suggesting that the thunderstorm that struck the city a couple of days ago may have weakened the structure. "Preliminary findings point towards a loose cross-beam connection or a bearing failure. The beam may have got dislodged from its socket because of the thunderstorm and fell. So it may be a natural disaster," he said.

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Five bodies recovered from the debris of collapsed flyover in Varanasi , says official . Five National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams, with about 250 personnel, rushed to the accident site. An NDRF official said at least three people were rescued.

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Mittal said all the employees of the corporation had decided to donate a day's salary to the chief minister's relief fund.

Asked whether deadline pressure on personnel to complete the project could have been a factor, Mittal said work pressure in such projects is always a given.

"...We were taking all the precautions and following the rule book... The project completion deadline was December 2018 and we had completed 56% work on the bridge," he said.

Mittal, who was removed from the UPBCB manging director's post during the previous Samajwadi Party regime following complaints against him in 2016, was not only reappointed to the post but also given additional charge of Rajkiye Nirman Nigam, a subsidiary of the UP PWD, by deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya after the BJP won power in the state last year.

A case was registered against officials of UPBC on Wednesday for dereliction of duty.

"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 the roadways police outpost in-charge," said senior superintendent of police (SSP), Varanasi, RK Bhardwaj.

Meanwhile, a three-member probe committee led by agriculture production commissioner RP Singh visited the spot on Wednesday and gathered inputs from officials and eyewitnesses. A person familiar with the development said the team collected samples of cement, iron rods and other material used in the construction."The samples are likely to be sent to IIT-Kanpur or any other IIT for testing."

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(Provided by The Times of India)


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