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18 killed as flyover collapses in Varanasi

Press Trust of India  |  Varanasi/Lucknow 

A portion of a flyover being built by a state-run corporation collapsed on a busy road in today, killing at least 18 people as it crushed a mini bus, cars and two-wheelers.

Officials feared that the toll may rise.

Hours later, people were still believed buried under the rubble of the flyover with several cranes being deployed to lift the concrete girder that crashed around 4 pm on the road that leads to the

Reports said at least 20 people were injured in the accident barely 100 metres from the Cantonment railway station.

A mini bus and four cars came under the slab, officials said. Eight to 10 two-wheelers were also trapped, of Police OP Singh told

Local residents said cyclists and pedestrians also use the stretch of the road, narrowed because of the construction activity.

said 18 bodies were pulled out.

Five (NDRF) teams, with about 250 personnel, rushed to the

An NDRF said at least three people were rescued. Rescue workers used to free people caught in their vehicles.

The is building the 2,261-metre bridge at a cost of Rs 129 crore, officials said. The span which fell today was laid barely three months ago, they added.

Narendra Modi, who represents in the Lok Sabha, expressed grief over the deaths while the opposition targeted the over the tragedy in the "top-priority constituency of the country".

The tragedy is similar to the flyover collapse in Kolkata two years back when over 25 people were killed.

Uttar Pradesh Minister announced a three-member committee to probe into the accident and give its report within 48 hours.

Deputy Minister headed for Varanasi from Lucknow, an spokesperson said.

"Extremely saddened by the loss of lives due to the collapse of an under-construction flyover in Varanasi. I pray that the injured recover soon. Spoke to officials and asked them to ensure all possible support to those affected," Modi tweeted.

In another tweet, the said he had spoken to Adityanath. "The is monitoring the situation very closely and is working on the ground to assist the affected," he said.

M Venkaiah

Naidu, and condoled the deaths.

attacked the state government, suggesting that corruption led to the tragedy.

"This is the reality of development in the top-priority constituency of the country. The ministers of the state used to visit this district for regular inspections. Is this incident an accident or result of corruption? This should be told to the people of Varanasi by the state government," the said.

Yadav appealed to his party workers to cooperate with the administration in relief and rescue operations. The accident should be probed "honestly", he demanded.

The probe will be headed by Agriculture Production

and will include and MD Rajesh Mittal, (Home) said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, May 15 2018. 23:30 IST