Varanasi fly­over col­lapse: Bridge Corp MD sacked

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES NATION - Sub­hash.Mishra @times­group.com

Luc­know: Forty-eight hours after a sec­tion of an un­der­con­struc­tion fly­over fell on mov­ing cars and pedes­tri­ans in PM Modi’s con­stituency Varanasi, killing 18 peo­ple, the state gov­ern­ment has sacked UP Bridge Cor­po­ra­tion man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Ra­jan Mit­tal even be­fore the ac­ci­dent probe re­port was sub­mit­ted. Mit­tal was head­ing the project after he was re­in­stated as Bridge Corp boss after BJP stormed to power in UP last year.

Mit­tal was un­der fire after the tragedy with the CM and even the PM draw­ing flak for loss of lives, lead­ing to reg­is­tra­tion of an FIR against cor­po­ra­tion of­fi­cers on Wed­nes­day for cul­pa­ble homi­cide.

Mit­tal, who has a tainted past as PWD chief en­gi­neer and then as MD of Bridge Corp in the pre­vi­ous Akhilesh Ya­dav regime, had tried to de­fend him­self by blam­ing the tragedy on strong winds dis­lodg­ing the beams and the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s fail­ure to di­vert traf­fic near the site. This an­gered CM Adityanath Yogi so much that he or­dered Mit­tal’s im­me­di­ate sack­ing, be­fore the first re­port by the in­quiry com­mit­tee was tabled.

Dif­fer­ences be­tween Yogi and his deputy, PWD min­is­ter Ke­shav Prasad Mau­rya, have grown after the fly­over col­lapse and Mit­tal’s sack­ing. As­tub­born Mau­rya re­tained his “blue-eyed boy” as act­ing MD of UP Ra­jkiya Nir­man Nigam, the state’s big­gest con­struc­tion agency, even after he was sacked from Bridge Corp. Mit­tal was once close to Sa­ma­jwadi Party bosses and even served in Etawah, the back­yard of then rul­ing Ya­dav clan.

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