Another mishap at Delhi Metro

3 cranes topple, 6 injured; Sreedharan to continue

Another mishap at Delhi Metro

Meanwhile, DMRC Managing Director E Sreedharan withdrew his resignation after it was rejected by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Sunday. Owning moral responsibility, Sreedharan had put in his papers on Sunday when the elevated stretch of the Metro track in the Zamrudpur area collapsed, killing six people and injuring 15 workers. It was the worst accident in the history of Delhi Metro.

Gammon India, contractor to the DMRC, denied any lapse on its part. The company said it is open to investigations and will provide full assistance to the inquiry panel set up by the DMRC.

Monday’s accident occurred when three cranes, engaged by the DMRC, collapsed while trying to lift the huge steel girder and other debris that were piled at the spot after the bridge snapped, raising questions about the safety norms adopted by the DMRC.

The six people injured in Monday’s mishap were treated at All India Institute of Medical Sciences for minor injuries.

The DMRC authorities said Monday’s crane crash occurred when around 200 workers and engineers gathered at the site of the earlier accident overseeing efforts to remove debris from the accident spot at Zamrudpur in south Delhi. Suddenly, three heavy-duty cranes, each weighing 250 tonnes, collapsed, apparently unable to bear the weight of the 31-metre-long launching girder that has been dangerously hanging since Sunday’s accident.

 Joint Commissioner of Police (Southern Range) Ajay Kashyap said the accident occurred because one of the cranes was trying to shift some of the weight of the girder on to the other cranes.

The accident sparked panic and near-stampede at the spot. In the ensuing milee, six workers, who were engaged in diverting traffic, were injured when they tripped and fell.
“It seems they fell when they were running away after the incident,” DMRC spokesman Anuj Dayal told reporters. Several policemen deployed at the site since Sunday also panicked.

Narrow escape

One of the cranes, a 16-wheel monster, fell on a row of shops, flattening three of them. Deshraj Chaudhary, the owner of the shops that had been shut since Sunday, said he narrowly escaped.

Dayal said the crane operators were safe. Other bystanders said they were in a state of shock following the two accidents. DMRC engineers, apparently under a gag order, refused to speak to the media.  Dayal said the crane accident was the result of mechanical faults and heavier cranes would be used for future operations.

The DMRC officials admitted that the latest mishap had hampered work on the project that connects central Delhi with Badarpur in the southern fringe of the capital.
Fortunately for the nearby Bluebells International School, few students had turned up. Shops selling garden accessories on which a crane fell were also closed. 

The twin accidents echoed in Parliament where Urban Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy praised the DMRC safety record and denied that the company was in a hurry to complete the project ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

The minister said the government had constituted an inquiry committee based on whose report the ministry would take action.

The Delhi government discussed the issue at its Cabinet meeting after which Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said: “The Cabinet discussed the entire incident and now we are waiting for the report after which appropriate action will be taken.”

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