Simplex may be barred from bidding for 2 years

While the city’s development authority has initiated a separate inquiry into Thursday’s accident at the Eastern Freeway construction site,it plans to debar the contractor Simplex Infrastructure Ltd from bidding for projects for two years in relation to an earlier accident.

Written by Express News Service | Published:July 21, 2012 1:46 am

While the city’s development authority has initiated a separate inquiry into Thursday’s accident at the Eastern Freeway construction site,it plans to debar the contractor Simplex Infrastructure Ltd from bidding for projects for two years in relation to an earlier accident.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) had issued a showcause notice to Simplex last month after a slab of the non-structural component of the Lalbaug flyover that opened to traffic in 2011 collapsed earlier this year.

“About 8-10 days ago,Simplex had replied to the notice saying it is not the company’s fault and the company should not be held responsible. We had forwarded the details to senior officials to take action,” said an MMRDA engineer.

Metropolitan Commissioner Rahul Asthana said the authority was considering taking action against the contractor when Thursday’s accident took place. “We will ensure that action against the contractor is severe and swift. Our immediate priority is to remove the concrete and open the road for traffic,which we expect to do by tomorrow evening,” Asthana said,adding that the Eastern Freeway,which was to be completed in December,is likely to be slightly delayed following the accident.

MMRDA officials said they had been planning to debar Simplex much earlier for negligence in the Lalbaug flyover incident,but action was postponed fearing slackening of the pace of work on projects such as the Eastern Freeway.

A failure in the launching girder being used to place concrete segments between two piers of Eastern Freeway caused it to bend and some of the segments came crashing down.

A construction labourer,Suraj Mukherjee (40),died,while seven others were injured and rushed to Sion Hospital and KEM Hospital.

A compensation of Rs 5 lakh would be given to the family of the deceased,while the injured will receive cost of treatment and compensation based on severity of the injury. Asthana said the contractor will bear the amount.

A car,a Meru cab,a transit mixer,and a truck carrying oil were crushed in the accident,causing an oil spill on the entire stretch. The launching girder had a capacity of 1,100 tonnes and was being used to launch 13 segments weighing 80 tonnes each.

The MMRDA will set up an independent committee of experts to examine the cause and determine whether there was a structural failure in the launching girder or whether it slipped from its support,dashed on the segments and was bent due to the impact. The committee will also determine the extent of the contractor’s fault in the incident.

The contractor,Simplex,has been involved in at least seven accidents on construction sites,two on the Lalbaug flyover,three on the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro — the civil work of which has been subcontracted to Simplex — and two on the Eastern Freeway,counting Thursday’s accident.

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