In a depressingly familiar scenario, a portion of an under-construction bridge near Mumbai international airport has claimed three lives till now. All of yesterday, there were frantic efforts to rescue people still buried under the debris. One can only hope that the toll does not rise.
However, it is important to note how authorities refuse to learn from tragedies of the past. How many times have we heard of people dying or getting seriously injured while construction on infrastructure projects is on? Have we learnt anything from mistakes? Obviously not, as this tragedy shows.
Even as you read this, we are yet to know who exactly is responsible for this collapse. The reasons being bandied about are different. The usual reaction saying that an investigation is being launched has already been trotted out. What the public would like to know is whether this investigation would bring forth results and give a cause for the accident or whether all this would be commonly swept under the carpet and forgotten in the days to come.
There is also the routine game of pass the buck, with different authorities claiming that the portion that collapsed did not come under their jurisdiction or was not their responsibility, whatever that means. A few token arrests have been made but till the contractor responsible is not blacklisted.
Till rules the ones that require cordoning off under-construction projects, and ensuing helmets for workers are not enforced with stringency, one may see tragedies of this magnitude being repeated. Honest answers and hard action are the only ways to tackle this one and prevent a repeat of such shameful disasters.
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