24 hrs later, cause of mishap unknown

A day after three labourers were killed and six gravely injured when a giant concrete girder collapsed on them at the site of the Sahar elevated road project in Andheri, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority commissioner was summoned by the chief minister to discuss what had caused the fatal fiasco.

A 35m concrete girder collapsed around 11.30 pm on Wednesday, while it was being lifted by a crane at a segment of the Sahar elevated Road near the Mumbai International airport. Pic/Satyajit Desai

An MMRDA official said on the condition of anonymity, “Metropolitan Commissioner Rahul Asthana on Thursday met Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and explained to him that the MMRDA does not have to do anything with the accident that took place last night. The location where the accident occurred falls under the jurisdiction of Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL). However, while discussing the issue, the chief minister instructed that more precautions should be taken at project sites to avoid such incidents.”

The road is being jointly constructed by the MMRDA and the MIAL. Right after the accident occurred around 11.30 pm on Wednesday, the MMRDA washed its hands of the mishap, claiming that it took place on the stretch which falls under MIAL’s jurisdiction. It should be noted that a day after the accident, MIAL has still not confirmed the reason for the accident. Sources said that the crane being used to lift a concrete girder malfunctioned and the 35 m shaft came crashing down on the workers. Rescue operations were on till early last morning.

The MIAL, the main contractor, had awarded the sub-contract for the work on this patch to Larsen and Toubro (L&T). In a press statement, L&T said, “In an unfortunate incident on February 6, around 11 pm, at the construction site of the elevated access road at Marol, Andheri (E), one of the segments being installed slipped, resulting in the dislocation of a span.

The police, ambulance and fire services immediately rushed to the site and started rescue operations. There were three fatalities. Six people who were injured were immediately rushed to hospitals. Two with minor injuries were discharged after being administered first aid.

All necessary help is being provided to the victims and their families. Investigations are being conducted to determine the cause of the incident.” Asked about relief packages for the deceased’s kin and the injured, an L&T spokesperson said, “We will be paying the compensation to the workers as per the Workmen’s Compensation Act, and if we feel it is less, we would pay more.”

Asked if the workers were insured, an L&T official said, “I will have to check, but the workers who died or were injured in the accident were contract workers.” The Sahar Police have arrested the supervisor, engineer and foreman under IPC sections 304A (causing death by negligence) 336, 337 and 338.

MMRDA says
MMRDA Joint Project Director Dilip Kawathkar said, “It is an unfortunate accident that occurred while the MIAL was carrying out work on the Sahar Elevated Road near the arrival area of the international airport, in which three were reported dead and six injured.”

He added, “MMRDA wants to make it clear that the MIAL is constructing the 1.5-km stretch from Hyatt Regency to the international airport terminal 2. The accident has taken place in their jurisdiction. The MMRDA has no role as far as the construction of this stretch is concerned. The MMRDA is constructing the 2-km stretch of the elevated road from Hanuman Road Junction on the Western Express Highway up to Hyatt Regency on Sahar Road.”

MIAL says
An MIAL spokesperson told MiD DAY, “At this point of time, it will be difficult to say whether the accident took place because of human or mechanical error. We will be setting up a small team which will investigate the matter from all angles to find the exact reason behind the accident.”

The victims
Three labourers were killed and another six injured after a portion of a bridge coming up near the Mumbai international airport at Andheri collapsed late night on Wednesday. The deceased are Santosh Das (22), Rambali Das (35) and Jainam Mandal (26).

Bridge collapse

They were declared ‘brought dead’ at the BMC-run Cooper Hospital. “The post mortem reports concluded that they died due to multiple fractures,” said a source at the hospital. Three of the injured are admitted at Seven Hills Hospital, two in Holy Spirit Hospital and one in Medicare Hospital at Andheri. Three of these patients are critical and have been put on ventilator.

“Victim Suresh Prasad (32) is unconscious and on ventilator. He has sustained severe head injuries. Mantu Prasad (45) who has suffered multiple fractures on hands and legs, head injuries and internal bleeding, is also on ventilator in the ICU. Rajesh Yadav (23) has suffered facial cuts but his condition is stable,” said a Seven Hills doctor.

At Holy Spirit Hospital, Birendra Das (28) is battling for life in the ICU. Another labourer Vinod Kumar Yadav (27) is quite stable. Both have sustained head injuries. The condition of Sunil Kumar (25), admitted at Medicare Hospital in Andheri, is stable. According to co-workers, Arun Kumar (27), a labourer went missing right after the accident. They believe he might have got trapped under the debris.

The number of labourers killed in the mishap at Sahar

The number of labourers injured in the accident at Sahar

Officials believe a labourer went missing and may be trapped under the debrisĀ 

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