Amidst of a storm of action caused by the Karnataka assembly election and people still carrying on with their lives like normal, a saddening incident took place in Varanasi on May 15. Right outside the Varanasi Cantonment Railway Station, two very heavy concrete beams fell off the 40 feet high pillars that crushed around 18 lives and severely injured several others. This incident took place at around 5:00 pm, Tuesday evening at an under construction flyover site that was being built between Chauka ghat bus stand and Lahartara. There were reports of a minibus, four cars and ten to twelve two wheeler vehicles being trapped and buried under the concrete slag heap caused during the collapse on the busy road.
Soon the local police reached the accident site followed by seven relief operation teams from National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) that consisted of total 325 personnel. The injured were immediately rushed to the nearby hospitals as soon as they could be rescued. The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, while expressing his concerns and sadness over the mishap, tweeted informing that the deputy CM and Minister Nilkanth Tiwari will be visiting the accident site to take the overview of the accident. Subsequently, the Deputy Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Keshav Prasad Maurya, arrived at the accident spot as soon as the news reached and headed towards the hospital to check the status of medication to the injured. Yogi Adityanath also mentioned that a high level committee has been formed to investigate the matter. The committee is headed by Pratap Singh, Agricultural Production Commissioner along with Chief Engineer and Head of Irrigation Department, Bhupendra Sharma and Managing Director of Jal Nigam, Rajesh Mittal.
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According to an early morning ANI UP tweet, the committee head, Raj Pratap Singh, when asked questions refused to comment stating nothing can be said until they talk and check all the records. ANI also tweeted a similar response from the District Magistrate, Yogeshwar Mishra, who said that he does not wish to comment on anything until the investigation is completed.
Reports say that the flyover construction was under the UP State Bridge Corporation Limited. But what is concerning is that according to a Hindustan Times report, the corporation that is otherwise applauded for it’s work has been found at fault twice in it’s previous projects. Times Now reported Surjit Singh Niranjan, General Secretary of UP Engineers Association, indicating towards carelessness in following safety norms blaming the district officers and the corporation. He also put forward the point that traffic was never to have been allowed anywhere near a bridge construction site.
While ANI tweeted PM Modi’s words of condolence, it also tweeted Deputy CM Maurya’s words of commitment saying compensation of rupees five lakhs will be given to the family of a deceased. And that the committee that has been set up will be submitting it’s report within 15 days.
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A report by THE HINDU informs of an FIR been filed at Sigra police station. Even though the FIR doesn’t name anyone in particular, it has been filed against the supervisory officers, contractors and the staff appointed. ANI has actively reported and shared pictures of CM Adityanath visiting injured victims at the Kabir Chaura Hospital and also at the Banaras Hindu University Trauma Center.
Even as the compensation has been granted and the necessary actions have been taken, the real question to ask is are we really safe in our own states and is 5 lakh rupees of compensation really worth someone’s life?