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.
A portion of the flyover coming up in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Lok Sabha constituency collapsed on Tuesday, crushing a mini bus, cars and two-wheelers.
Officials initially said 18 people were killed, but the toll was revised to 15 later.
The UP State Bridge Corporation was constructing the 2,261-metre flyover at a cost of Rs 129 crore.
The span which fell was laid about three months ago.
The government had immediately suspended four officials of the corporation looking after the work in Varanasi. The police also registered an FIR against the corporation.
In 2010, the 1,087- metre Chillgahat bridge connecting Fatehpur with Bundelkhand region, built at a cost of Rs 650 crore, showed cracks within 13 days of its inauguration, he recalled.
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.
This week's flyover collapse had triggered a blame game between the local administration and the corporation.
Varanasi Senior Superintendent of Police R K Bhardwaj said an inspection of the construction site about two months ago showed that the builders were not following safety measures like putting up proper barricades and laying out a service lane.
The police had registered an FIR against the corporation officials in February.
Mittal, however, refuted the charges and asserted that he was is in possession of five letters sent to SP, Traffic, between November 2017 and March 2018 for regulating traffic and removing encroachments in the area.
"Besides, our concern for the traffic had been expressed continuously in meetings with the local administration and can be seen in the minutes of these meetings," he told PTI hours before the announcement of his removal.
"In fact, the traffic should not have been allowed in the area in the first place and all officials of the district were aware of not only traffic movement but also jams," he said.
On how the accident happened, Mittal said prima facie it seemed like a "bearing failure", a possible result of damage during the recent storm.
"It should have been checked at the local level after the storm," he said.
The police said the agency carrying out the construction work is supposed to deploy its own staff for traffic regulation and if they cannot do this they need to ask the police.
Mittal said the agency staff were deployed during the casting work till February and claimed that he was not aware when and on whose orders they were removed.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)