Amid the continuing investigation by a three-member team set up by the Uttar Pradesh government to probe the Varanasi flyover collapse incident for the second consecutive day, the Yogi Adityanath government on Thursday removed the Managing Director of the Uttar Pradesh Bridge Corporation, Rajat Mittal over negligence in the flyover tragedy.
Rajan Mittal, was removed from his post during the term of the Akhilesh Yadav government following complaints. But he was reinstated when the BJP government came to power last year.
In less than two days after the horrific episode, the local administration and the work agencies are busy in trailing guns at each other. The district police has lodged an FIR against officials of the Uttar Pradesh State Bridge Corporation Ltd which shouldered the responsibility for carrying out the construction of the flyover. The corporation, which once earned kudos for bagging projects not only in other states but also in Iraq, Yemen and Nepal, had been receiving flak recently, a senior PWD official said.
The government had immediately suspended four officials of the corporation looking after the construction work in Varanasi. Work on the flyover between Chauka Ghat bus stand and Lahartara had been initiated during the Samajwadi Party rule.
Earlier in the day, samples of iron beams, cement, concrete and other construction material used in a Varanasi flyover, have been sent for "quality and standards test" to IIT-Roorkee in Uttarakhand, said an IANS report.
The unfortunate incident that took place in Varanasi when a part of an under-construction flyover bridge fell and killed over 15 people and injured half a dozen people, the local administration and the work agencies are busy in trailing guns at each other.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced an ex-gratia of Rs 200,000 each to the kin of those killed in the Varanasi flyover collapse incident and Rs 50,000 each to those seriously injured.
In a bid to prevent such fatal occurrences in future, the Uttar Pradesh government has decided set up a bridge safety cell "Setu Suraksha Cell" that will regularly inspect construction sites to avoid flyover collapse like tragedies.
In a shameful incident following the Varanasi flyover collapse tragedy, a video showed the staff workers of Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University allegedly asking the distraught families and relatives of the dead victims to make payment of Rs 300 per body for conducting postmortem. Reportedly, one of the workers left a dead body on the floor when the victim's family refused to pay him any money.
Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar yesterday demanded the resignation of state PWD Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and held him morally responsible for the Varanasi flyover collapse. He also alleged that the state ministers were putting pressure on the district officials and the officials of the UP State Bridge Corporation for completing the construction of the flyover before the 2019 general elections.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said preliminary action is being taken against erring authorities responsible for the Varanasi flyover collapse incident.
Here are the top 10 developments in the Varanasi flyover collapse incident that killed as many as 15 people and critically injured 11 others:
1. UP State Bridge Corporation Managing Director expelled: The Uttar Pradesh government today shunted out UP State Bridge Corporation Managing Director Rajan Mittal in the wake of the Varanasi flyover collapse, which killed at least 15 people earlier this week. Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Maurya, who is also the minister for Public Works Department (PWD), said in a tweet that Mittal has been relieved from the post of MD with immediate effect. The tragic Varanasi flyover collapse in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency has questioned the kind of work carried out by the UP Bridge Corporation, which bagged projects not only in other states but also in Iraq, Yemen and Nepal.
ALSO READ: Flyover collapse: Corpn MD shunted out
2. Samples sent to IIT-Roorkee for "quality test": Samples of iron beams, cement, concrete and other construction material used in a Varanasi flyover, a portion of which collapsed on Tuesday killing many, have been sent for "quality and standards test" to IIT-Roorkee in Uttarakhand, reported IANS.
3. 5 warning letters by UP police ignored: At least five warning letters were sent to UP State Bridge Corporation (UPSBC) by the UP Police since last November to follow traffic safety regulations near the Cantt railway station area in Varanasi where a portion of an under-construction collapsed on Tuesday, claiming 18 lives. The Indian Express reported that the state police, had as recently as in February this year, filed an FIR against the flyover firm for not adhering to the rules while construction works were underway. As per the IE report, despite the FIR against UPSBC officials, no steps were taken by the concerned authority.
4. BHU Hospital staff workers ask for bribe for postmortem process: Grieving families of those who were killed during the Varanasi flyover incident, were asked to pay Rs 300 per body as bribe to get post-mortem conducted. The distraught family members were told that the bodies would be returned if they failed to pay the desired amount. The video showed hospital authorities at the Banaras Hindu University campus asking the family members and relatives concerned to pay an amount of Rs 300 to initiate the process of postmortem.
5. PM Narendra Modi declares ex-gratia of Rs 200,000: Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an ex-gratia of Rs 200,000 each to the kin of those killed in the Varanasi flyover collapse incident and Rs 50,000 each to those seriously injured.
Read our earlier detailed copy on developments in the Varanasi flyover collapse incident
Prime Minister #NarendraModi has announced ex-gratia relief of Rs. 2 lakh each to the kin of those who lost their lives after a portion of an under-construction flyover collapsed in #Varanasi 's Cantonment area— ANI Digital (@ani_digital) May 16, 2018
Read @ANI story | https://t.co/7QPSgyOUVc pic.twitter.com/yCnPDzdXYL
6. Uttar Pradesh government to form bridge safety cell: To ensure that precautions are taken at construction sites and there is no compromise with the quality of the work, the Yogi Adityanath government will set up a bridge safety cell that will regularly inspect construction sites to prevent tragedies like Varanasi flyover collapse. According to Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, the government will form the "Setu Suraksha Cell" to keep an eye on all bridges and flyovers being constructed in the state. The cell will ensure the safety of people travelling in vehicles and on foot near the construction sites, he said. It will also make sure that the labourers are also safe.
ALSO READ: UP to form bridge safety cell
7. Raj Babbar demands Keshav Prasad Maurya's resignation: Without taking the name of Maurya, who is the deputy chief minister, Babbar said the minister concerned with the UP Bridge Corporation should resign on moral grounds. He also alleged that the state ministers were putting pressure on the district officials and the officials of the UP State Bridge Corporation for completing the construction of the flyover before the 2019 general elections. He also said that the Varanasi incident was an act of "negligence", which occurred due to hurrying up the construction under pressure from BJP ministers and senior officials.
8. Varanasi flyover collapsed due to thunderstorm, says expelled UP Bridge Corp MD: R Mittal, the expelled managing director (MD) of Bridge Corporation yesterday told ANI that, “the under-construction flyover at Varanasi's Cantonment area collapsed due to the recent thunderstorms that struck the region a few days ago, weakening its structure”. Mittal further added, "We think the lock of the bearing underneath the beam broke due to the recent thunderstorms that struck in the region, which led to the accident. The traffic should have been diverted away from the construction site. We should all learn from this incident."
10. CM Yogi Adityanath announced ex-gratia: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has announced compensation of Rs 500,000 for kin of those killed in the incident, Rs 200,000 for those who have been injured. CM Adityanath has also set up a three-member committee to probe flyover collapse, said a PTI report. He also said that a committee has been formed to look into the incident. Speaking to ANI, Adityanath said: "I express grief over the incident, my condolence with the affected families. I have sent Deputy Chief Minister and minister Neelkanth Tiwari to the spot. We have formed the committee to look into the incident. The report will come in 48 hours." Earlier, in a Twitter post, he expressed his grief and prayed for peace to those departed in the flyover collapse incident.
ALSO READ: Probe begins into Varanasi flyover collapse
10. Chief Project Manager suspended: After being held responsible for the Varanasi bridge collapse incident, Chief Project Manager HC Tiwari, Project Manager KR Sudan, Assistant Engineer Rajesh Singh & engineer Lal Chand have been suspended with immediate effect, said UP Deputy Chief Minister KP Maurya, ANI reported.