At least eighteen people were killed and several others were injured after a portion of an under construction flyover collapsed near Cantonment railway station in Varanasi on Tuesday.
Police said the incident took place around 5 pm when two pillars collapsed, bringing a huge slab of concrete down. The under construction flyover, which is around 1.5 kilometer long, starts from Chowka Ghat to Naharpura, via cantonment area, Circle Officer (Cantonment) Rakesh Kumar Nayak said. Police suspect the occupants of the vehicles, passerby and labourers, who were working on the flyover, are buried beneath the slab.
Local police have arrived at the spot while people have been stopped at some distance from the site to ensure relief work is completed without any interference. A team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has also been rushed for rescue operation.
“So far, four persons in unconscious state have been pulled out from inside the debris. They have been sent to the hospital for treatment,” Nayak said, adding that cranes have been pressed into service to remove the debris.
Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh government has formed a high-level committee, headed by Agriculture Production Commissioner (APC) Raj Pratap Singh, to probe the incident. It has also directed the committee to submit a report to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in the next 48 hours. The team also consists of Bhupendra Sharma, Chief Engineer and Head of Irrigation Department and Rajesh Mittal, Managing Director, Jal Nigam.
Expressing grief over the incident, CM Adityanath said, “A committee has been formed under APC and including officials of Irrigation and Jal Nigam. They have been asked to submit a report within next 48 hours, providing details of the entire incident and recommendation for action against those found guilty.” The CM also announced a compensation of Rs five lakh for families of the deceased and Rs two lakh for families of those injured in the incident.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the mishap with the UP CM over the phone. “I spoke to UP CM Yogi Adityanath regarding the situation due to the collapse of an under-construction flyover in Varanasi, UP Government is monitoring the situation very closely and is working on the ground to assist the affected,” Modi tweeted.
Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Sidhartha Nath Singh informed that Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya as well as State Minister Nilkhand Tiwari have rushed to the spot with a technical team. He said that both the district magistrate as well as the commissioner have been asked to take up rescue operations at war footing with the help of police as well as NDRF teams who are also present at the spot.