Af­ter fly­over col­lapse, be­gins blame-game

The Free Press Journal - - NATION -

As the fam­i­lies grieve the death of their kin in the Varanasi fly­over col­lapse ear­lier this week, the lo­cal ad­min­is­tra­tion and the work agency are busy play­ing a blame game.

The dis­trict police has lodged an FIR against of­fi­cials of the Ut­tar Pradesh State Bridge Cor­po­ra­tion Ltd, a govern­ment-run en­tity car­ry­ing out the con­struc­tion of the fly­over in the Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi's par­lia­men­tary con­stituency, stat­ing the agency did not fol­low safety mea­sures, re­ports PTI.

Varanasi Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent of Police RK Bharad­waj said that dur­ing an in­spec­tion of the con­struc­tion site, it came to the fore that the builders were not fol­low­ing safety mea­sures such as putting up proper bar­ri­cades and lay­ing out a ser­vice lane and an FIR was reg­is­tered against cor­po­ra­tion of­fi­cials in Fe­bru­ary.

Ra­jan Mit­tal, who was re­moved as cor­po­ra­tion MD on Thurs­day, how­ever, re­futed the charges and as­serted he was is in pos­ses­sion of five let­ters sent to the SP, Traf­fic, be­tween Novem­ber 2017 and March 2018 for reg­u­lat­ing traf­fic and re­mov­ing en­croach­ments from the area.

"Be­sides, our con­cern for the traf­fic had been ex­pressed con­tin­u­ously in the meet­ings with the lo­cal ad­min­is­tra­tion and can be seen in the min­utes of these meet­ings," he told PTI be­fore he was re­moved from the post.

"In fact, the traf­fic should not have been al­lowed in the area in the first place and all of­fi­cials of the dis­trict were aware of not only traf­fic move­ment but also jams," he said, adding that the project was con­tin­u­ously be­ing mon­i­tored at ev­ery level as the agency was work­ing roundthe-clock to meet dead­lines.

A por­tion of the un­der-con­struc­tion fly­over near the rail­way sta­tion in Varanasi col­lapsed on May 15 killing at least 18 peo­ple, of­fi­cials had said.

Some ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing a bus, were crushed in the col­lapse, they said.

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