Varanasi flyover collapse: UP Bridge Corp MD blames thunderstorm; updates At least 15 people were killed as a portion of a flyover being built by a state-run corporation collapsed on busy road in Varanasi on Tuesday; catch all the live updates here
The tragic Varanasi flyover collapse in the high-profile Lok Sabha constituency represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has posed a big question mark on the standard of work carried out by the UP Bridge Corporation in the recent past. The state-run corporation, which had once earned kudos bagging projects not only in other states but also in Iraq, Yemen and Nepal, has been at the receiving end recently, according to a senior official in the Public Works Department (PWD). During peak traffic hours on Tuesday evening, two pillars of an under-construction flyover in Varanasi's Cantt area had collapsed, bringing down a huge slab, which crushed a mini-bus, cars and two-wheelers. As many as 15 people were reported killed and 11 others injured. Several people got crushed or trapped under the debris in the incident and, according to Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar, around 7 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams of over 325 personnel had to be deployed for relief operations at the site of the Varanasi flyover collapse. Former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav also asked his party members to reach the accident site and help the people there. Work
on the flyover, which would connect Chaukaghat and Lahartara, began on October 1, 2015, when Akhilesh Yadav was the chief minister. Work on the flyover between Chauka Ghat bus stand and Lahartara had been initiated during the Samajwadi Party rule. Earlier this morning, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said preliminary action had been taken against erring authorities responsible for the Varanasi flyover collapse. After the incident, the chief minister announced compensation of Rs 500,000 for the kin of those killed in the incident, and Rs 200,000 for those who had been injured. He also met victims at the Kabir Chaura Hospital on late Tuesday night. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also took stock of the situation in Varanasi on Tuesday evening. Union Health and Family Welfare minister J P Nadda directed Health Secretary Preeti Sudan to stay in touch with the health officials of Uttar Pradesh. Meanwhile, KR Sudan, the project manager of the flyover, said the reason behind the mishap could only be ascertained after the completion of the investigation.
Also Read : Varanasi bridge collapse: 18 dead, rescue work underway; top developments Earlier, the district administration had rushed to the spot for rescue operations and more than a dozen cranes had been pressed into service. Many of those trapped were reported to be labourers working on the flyover, according to an NDTV report. The flyover, being constructed by Uttar Pradesh State Bridge Corporation, was scheduled to be inaugurated last December. Addressing reporters last evening, UP Minister Sidharth Nath Singh had said that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had directed the administration to speed up rescue operation. Two ministers were also sent to the city to take stock of the situation. The chief minister directed the district administration and PWD officials to take all necessary steps for relief and rescue operations. DGP OP Singh was quoted by media reports as saying: "We are in the process of evacuating the 50 people trapped under the debris. A majority of the people trapped are suspected to be the construction workers." Singh also recalled the Kolkata flyover collapse and went on to say that rescue operations were on in full swing.