Senior Officials of the infrastructure firm IVRCL, which was constructing the flyover that collapsed in Kolkata, may have used the legal term “act of God” to suggest that natural causes were behind the accident. But the Hyderabad-based firm has previously been under the Railways’ scanner for “non-performance”.
S C Agnihotri, Chief Managing Director, Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), told The Indian Express, “Because of non-performance, we had terminated a few of their contracts.”
Sources said the “non performance” related to long delays in projects leading to notices being served, fines levied and contracts terminated.
Railway works, including doubling of lines, are executed by RVNL, a PSU, which hands out the contracts to infrastructure and engineering firms. Each tender is usually valued at around Rs 200 crore.
Other officials said that Railway construction giant, IRCON, had terminated a tunneling contract handed to IVRCL. “They got the contract based on the strength and reputation of the foreign firm they had tied up with but when the work was being executed, we saw that only IVRCL was carrying it out. We were very disappointed with the work and terminated the contract,” said a senior IRCON official.
Officials at the IVCRL’s head office in Hyderabad’s Banjara Hills, meanwhile, described the collapse of the flyover as an “act of God” and added that the company would cooperate with the West Bengal’s government’s probe into the accident.
“I am sure it was not inferior-quality material or negligence in following safety procedures that led to the accident. This was the 60th segment of the flyover… before that, 59 segments were constructed and all of them are fine. Something happened with this segment. We are trying to find out what happened and we will cooperate with any investigation,’’ said A G K Murthy, director of operations, IVRCL.
(With inputs from ENS/Hyderabad)