The absence of safety engineers, election-oriented deadlines and a lack of transparency on safety policies, transport experts and citizen groups raised a host of issues plaguing Bengaluru Metro Line Ltd (BMRCL) on Wednesday. A mother and her toddler son pointed to the problems a day after a subway column under construction collapsed in Bengaluru.
Satya Arikutharam, an independent mobility campaigner, said the safety policy of Bangalore Metro Rail Limited (BMRCL) is not transparent. Speaking to indianexpress.com, he said, “Unfortunately, BMRCL does not even publish a health and safety policy under the policies section of its website. Independent engineers have to be deployed to review the construction progress and check safety aspects during construction.”
He added that BMRCL should also be aware of whether there is a general manager dedicated to safety within the company and whether he has signed off on the pre-construction safety agreements provided to contractors.
Rajkumar Dugar, founder and convener of Citizens for Citizens, said such accidents happened because of “election-oriented deadlines”. “Responsibility for such accidents lies with the political class. Politicians often claim to have subway projects completed before elections. As a result, officials are under pressure to work hard to meet such deadlines, who in turn put pressure on contractors to They speed things up. When you work with such urgency considering the election, safety and other norms are compromised, and accidents like this happen,” Dugar said.
Prof MN Sreehari, Transport Adviser and Adviser to the Government of India, said BMRCL had no safety officer who could relieve the reinforcements (a necessary process to strengthen the structure during construction) from collapsing.
“BMRCL must take full responsibility for the safety breach. The reason for the collapse of the column under construction may be that the cantilever is fixed at the bottom near the dock platform, and when the entire steel bar is upright, the air pressure and self-weight may have affected the balance of the column. If the column under construction has no concrete or With proper scaffolding, the columns are likely to collapse. In fact, I fear this will be the case for all the columns up to Airport Road. The rebar must be covered with concrete on the same day to avoid such incidents,” said Sreehari.
Responding to the expert’s account, Anjum Parvez, MD, BMRCL, said: “We have safety engineers from BMRCL and safety engineers appointed by contractors who regularly visit construction sites. In fact, 40-45 minutes before the Nagavara accident, The safety engineer was there. The alignment was very good during that time.”
Parvez added that under the contract agreement signed with Nagarjuna Construction Company Ltd, a separate clause mentioned that compensation should be provided to victims in such accidents. “Of course, no amount of compensation can save the life of the victim, but the compensation of Rs 2 million offered by BMRCL is unique,” he added, “according to the terms in the agreement, compensation should be made individually for this case.”
Nagarjuna Construction Company, which is responsible for nearly 50 kilometers of metro line works for the BMRCL Phase 2B project, is currently under investigation for alleged negligence. It includes metro works from KR Puram to Hebbal, Hebbal to Bagalur Cross and Bagalur Cross to KIA Terminal.