Even as the city has been struggling to strengthen its transport-related infrastructure,there have been at least ten accidents at construction sites of major infrastructure projects over the past five years,killing seven persons,mostly construction workers.
These accidents have taken place on projects such as the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro,the Eastern Freeway,the Chembur-Wadala monorail and the Lalbaug flyover,touted as one of the citys longest flyovers. Around 25 persons,the majority being construction workers,were injured.
Lack of stringent safety measures,crowded roads,encroachments around project sites,technical glitches and a pressure to meet deadlines have often been cited as reasons behind such accidents.
Mumbai has seen more accidents on construction sites of its infrastructure projects than other Indian cities because it is genuinely more challenging owing to the space constraint. These projects are mostly executed on narrow crowded roads, a senior official said.
At several of these construction sites,the labourers dont use basic safety equipment such as hand gloves,boots and helmets. Labourers have been seen eating and sleeping on elevated construction sites. At sites such as that of the Eastern Freeway elevated road,even basic safety norms of barricading and no parking around construction sites are flouted. Also,there has been a sudden infrastructure boom and there is always a shortage of skilled persons. It is fine even if a project takes longer,but it is more important that it should be executed with minimum mishaps, the official added. Such accidents also tend to cause delays in projects. For instance,the activity of launching girders on the Eastern Freeway from Orange Gate to Anik was halted for nearly a month after the accident in July where a failure in the launching girder had killed one labourer and injured seven others.
Similarly,the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority had cited an accident at the Chembur-Wadala monorail construction site that had killed two workers as a reason for deferring a partial trial run that was to happen in August last year.