Huge setback


D

isaster has struck the Delhi metro project twice in as many days. On Sunday, a bridge under construction at Zamroodpur  in South Delhi collapsed resulting in the death of at least six people. Barely 24 hours later, another accident has happened. There was a minor accident involving metro work in Mumbai too. In Delhi, cranes that were being used to clear the debris in the accident site toppled over injuring around six people. The Delhi metro project is one of India’s finest infrastructure projects. The metro has provided the capital’s harried commuters much respite. It was being extended in preparation for the upcoming Commonwealth Games. Not only has it been costly in terms of lives lost but also, it is likely to result in financial losses to the tune of over Rs 6 crore. Worse, it is going to slow down the pace of the project’s implementation. Sunday’s accident is the second major one involving the Delhi metro project. Nine months ago, a bridge under construction in East Delhi’s Laxmi Nagar collapsed on to a bus and cars below, killing two and injuring 12.

This section of the metro project is being executed by Gammon India. It may be recalled that a flyover being constructed by this company in Hyderabad collapsed in 2007. A thorough investigation is necessary to find out whether it was flawed design, poor construction material or shoddy work that resulted in the collapse of the bridge in the Delhi metro. It appears that construction of Pillar-67 of the bridge which gave way had been stopped two months ago on account of reported cracks. Why was its construction resumed two weeks back? Were the flaws in its construction corrected? Stern action should be taken against those whose negligence resulted in the accident.

E Sreedharan, the managing director of Delhi Metro Rail Construction offered to resign owning moral responsibility for the accident. Sreedharan is the brain behind the project.

His energy and unquestionable personal integrity has powered the project so far. His exit from the project at this critical juncture would be disastrous. The Delhi government has rightly refused to accept his resignation. It is important that as the Games draw near and pressure to meet the deadline grows, quality of construction does not suffer.

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