One person was killed and 11 others were injured, four of them critically, after a portion of an under-construction flyover collapsed near Bomikhal here today. Officials said around 15 labourers were working on the flyover when the structure collapsed this afternoon. An injured worker, undergoing treatment at Capital Hospital, said, “A portion of the flyover collapsed when we were busy plastering its roof.” Expressing grief over the incident, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced Rs 5 lakh ex gratia for the next of the kin of the deceased and free treatment for the injured. He also conveyed his sympathy to the bereaved family. T he chief minister said a deputy executive engineer and an assistant engineer have been suspended following the incident.
“Exemplary action will be taken against those found guilty…no one will be spared whosoever he may be,” he said. Satya Patnaik, a 39-year-old businessman, was killed as he and his daughter Sheetal were under the flyover when it came down crashing, Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC), Central Division, A B Otta told reporters. Patnaik’s daughter is critically injured and admitted to the AIIMS, Bhubaneswar, Otta said.
Other injured have been admitted to the Capital Hospital and the AIIMS. The chief minister also met injured at the two hospitals and spoke to the doctors about their treatment. A massive search and rescue operation was launched soon after the collapse and it took about six hours to clear the debris.
Police, fire brigade, around 50 personnel of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and two units of the NDRF were engaged in the search and rescue operation. Sniffer dogs were also deployed to ascertain if anyone was trapped under the rubble, officials said. Earth movers and heavy cranes were pressed into service to remove the debris. Extending a helping hand, the East Coast Railway (ECoR) engaged its workforce in the rescue operation. Officials with over 10 gas cutters and seven hydraulic jacks were deployed, an ECoR official said. A high-level inquiry has been ordered into the mishap. Works Department Secretary N K Pradhan said, “I have already ordered an inquiry into the incident. It is certainly a major mistake on the part of the contractor. The job was assigned to Panda Infrastructure.”
Stern action would be taken against those found guilty, he said, adding the project was under the Roads and Buildings (R&B) Division-4. Director General of Police (DGP) R P Sharma, Police Commissioner Y B Khurania and other senior officials visited the spot to monitor the rescue operation. Both the DGP and the police commissioner said the incident occurred apparently due to negligence. Meanwhile, opposition parties blamed the BJD government for the incident. The leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra (Congress) said that the CM, who is in charge of the Works Department, is responsible and the issue would be raised in the Assembly.
He alleged the part of the flyover collapsed due to “poor quality” of work and contractors and engineers responsible for the “negligence” should be booked for “culpable homicide” not amounting to murder. Odisha Congress chief Prasad Harichandan said stringent action should be taken against those responsible for the collapse. BJP leader and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan expressed grief over the incident and said, “Exemplary action must be taken against the guilty.” BJP’s Odisha chief Basant Panda said even though the chief minister holds the Works Department, “poor quality” of work led to the collapse.