Monday, July 15, 2024

20 crushed to death as girder launcher caves in

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PNS|New Delhi

At least 20 persons including ten labourers were crushed to death and three others injured as a girder launcher collapsed during the construction of a viaduct for the Samruddhi Expressway in Maharashtra’s Thane district on early Tuesday morning, officials said.

The girder launcher along with a segment launcher (crane), weighing 700 tons, came crashing down from a height of 35 metres, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) said in a release.

The deceased included two engineers, said the MSRDC, the executing agency of the expressway project that links Nagpur with Mumbai.

Thane police registered an offence against two contractors for allegedly causing death by negligence following the incident.

The incident occurred sometime after midnight at Sarlambe village in Shahapur tehsil, around 80 km from Mumbai.

The three injured persons were being treated at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Hospital at Kalva in Thane.

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis expressed grief over the incident in a tweet. A probe by experts has been ordered, he added.

It was a special-purpose “mobile gantry crane” used in bridge construction and to install precast box girders in highway construction projects that collapsed while being shifted between pier nos 15 and 16 of the viaduct as part of preparatory work for the next day, the MSRDC said.

The 2.28 km-long viaduct is being constructed by Navayuga Engineering and VSL India Private Limited, Singapore.

Of total 114 segments of the viaduct, 98 were successfully constructed using the same launcher, MSRDC added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives and announced ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the next of kin of each of the deceased and assistance of Rs 50,000 for the injured persons.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah also expressed grief. National Disaster Response Force teams are engaged in relief and rescue work, he said.

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde condoled the deaths and announced assistance of Rs 5 lakh each for the families of the deceased.

A First Information Report (FIR) under Indian Penal Code sections 304 A (Causing death by negligence) and 337 (Causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) was registered at Shahapur police station against two contractors of the company engaged in the bridge constriction work, an official said.

Maharashtra PWD minister Ravindra Chavan and Public Works (with MSRDC) minister Dada Bhuse visited the accident site.

The `Samruddhi Mahamarg’, named Hindu Hrudaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg, is a 701-km-long expressway connecting Mumbai and Nagpur.

It passes through ten districts: Nagpur, Washim, Wardha, Ahmednagar, Buldhana, Aurangabad, Amravati, Jalna, Nashik and Thane.

The construction of a 600-km long stretch is completed and opened for traffic, while the work of remaining 101 km-long stretch between Nashik and Thane is in progress.

As many as 88 people have lost lives in accidents in the last six months on the expressway, including 25 persons who were killed in July when a private bus caught fire after hitting a divider.

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