Monday, July 13, 2009

Development on the Cost of Innocent Human Lives

Is Safety Being Compromised In Rush To Meet 2010 Deadline?

Any one living in Delhi would be well acquainted with the pace of development and construction going on for 2010 commonwealth games. One can easily predict that the speed on which the work is going on is way fast than usual. Achieving such a pace always leads to some compromise with quality.

Not only Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) but all departments engaged in the commonwealth games projects are working under tremendous pressure to meet the project deadlines. Delhi metro phase 2 will be connecting 10 out of 11 commonwealth venues, so this increases pressure and responsibility on them even more. DMRC is working day and night to complete all projects before time.

I know that mega games event is a standoff to showcase our development and to project a good image of the country to the world. Everything is fine, but the question arises that are we ready for such development which costs innocent human lives.

The workers, who were killed, are from far away rural states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, and West Bengal with no security cover and no insurance. Some of them are sole bread winners of their family. DMRC will pay some amount to their families but the question is if any compensation can bring them back.

Isn’t it the corporation’s responsibility to keep a check on such mishaps?

What do you think? Post here or email me at the contact email and I will post all your responses here…

The original news as follows:

In a virtual repeat of the Vikas Marg incident nine months ago, six people, including an engineer from Gammon India, were killed when a pre-fabricated concrete segment of an under-construction Metro viaduct collapsed along with a portion of the girder launcher on Sunday morning.

Fifteen people were injured in the incident on the Central Secretariat-Badarpur line that occurred on the intersection of Lala Lajpat Rai Path and Kalka Devi Marg, at a stone’s throw from LSR College and Bluebells School.

It was sheer providence that the accident occurred at 4.40am. This road is one of the main spines of the city and leads to Nehru Place, a commercial and official hub of the city. It’s also the gateway to many south Delhi colonies and an alternative to BRT and the GK-II route. Any time of the day during the week, the collapse would have meant huge casualties.

The impact of the 200-tonne mass was such that the road caved in. Local residents and workers at the site said the pillar (P-67) which collapsed had earlier developed cracks and work had been stopped for two months to get it checked. DMRC chief E Sreedharan admitted this but said a committee had inspected the pillar and ruled out anything serious. Work had resumed about two weeks back.

As for the possible reasons behind the incident, he said it could have been caused due to a design fault or the fault of the contractor. The material, too, could have been inferior, he said.

Observers say in the rush to meet the June 2010 deadline for Commonwealth Games, staff strength may be getting diluted, leading to lax supervision. The incident happened within 24 hours of a minor accident at Vikas Marg when a jack fitted on a pillar, which had collapsed last year, burst.

The Incident A pillar on Central Secretariat-Badarpur Metro corridor collapses at 4.40am at Zamrudpur, near LSR. A girder being used to lift concrete pieces onto overhead bridge tilts and falls, bringing 200 tonnes of concrete & metal crashing down

The Toll 5 workers and 1 engineer killed. 15 injured. This is 9th major Metro accident in past 2 years. At least 6 lives have been lost in previous mishaps

Killer Pillar The pillar (P-67) had developed cracks and work was stopped for 2 months to get it examined. Work resumed 2 weeks back after iron supports were put around it

The Response Gas-cutters, cranes used to clear debris. One body yet to be extricated till late night. Some homes evacuated. Power switched off in area to prevent cranes short-circuiting wires. Traffic closed at Kailash Colony T-point, LSR-Bluebells School T-point and Amar Colony Police Station. Efforts on to plug major water pipeline which burst, flooding neighborhood.

DMRC panel – 2 in-house experts, 1 each from IIT-Delhi and DCE – to probe and report within 10 days

Who Are The Contractors?

Gammon India is the contractors for the stretch. A flyover constructed by them in Hyderabad collapsed recently, killing 2. Last Nov, a beam at a Gammon construction site on the same Metro stretch fell inside a nursing college, injuring a woman and a 3-year-old girl. Gammon insists it’s not at fault for Sunday’s accident, says "wait for inquiry report"