Foot overbridge caves in near Nehru Stadium

Condition of five of the 27 injured is said to be serious. The bridge, 95 metre long and five metre wide, caved in at 3:10 pm at the Lodhi Road area of South Delhi. It was being built along with another overbridge.

The incident occurred  with just 11 days left for the Games to start and on a day when the state of the Games Village was dubbed “filthy and uninhabitable” by some participating countries. One of the countries, New Zealand, even talked of pulling out. A foreign journalist, who was covering the mishap, was heard saying, “The collapse of the bridge shows the quality of construction for the Games.”

The incident also comes within two days of the caving in of a canopy at the stadium, injuring two police personnel.

The Delhi government blacklisted the Hyderabad-based firm PNR Infra, which built the bridge at a cost of Rs 10.5 crore, and set up an inquiry though Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit said the probe report would be submitted only after the Games was over.
Union Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy, who heads the Group of Ministers in charge of ensuring smooth holding of the Games, blamed “rains of unprecedented scale” for the “minor incident” even as he asserted that the mishap had not dented India’s image. “I am absolutely confident the Games will be held in a successful way. Thereafter complaints will be addressed,” he said.

The collapsed bridge was to connect the parking lot to the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, where the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games were to be held.
The work was initiated in April this year to be completed early this month. The footbridge was supposed to run through an arc, which still remains intact.
Eyewitnesses told Deccan Herald that the bridge came crashing down with a huge sound on the labourers, who were working under it.

“A rod was being rested on a grid, but a clip slipped, resulting in the portion of the bridge collapsing,” an engineer at the site said. While the seriously injured were taken to the nearby AIIMS hospital, the others were being treated at the Safdarjung hospital. Soon after the incident, the police cordoned off the area and entry of even presspersons was barred.

Immediately after the bridge collapse, Shiela Dixit tried dousing apprehensions of the Games getting hit, saying the bridge was to be mainly used by people and not exactly for the officials or participants of the Games.
DH News Service

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