Week after,safety not a priority on Eastern Freeway project sites

Authorities in charge of Eastern Freeway project do not seem to have learnt their lessons from last week’s accident in which one construction labourer died and seven were injured.

Written by MANASI PHADKE | Published: July 27, 2012 12:38:49 am

Authorities in charge of Eastern Freeway project do not seem to have learnt their lessons from last week’s accident in which one construction labourer died and seven were injured.

The place where the accident took place — Shanti Nagar,Wadala — has been cordoned off and work halted temporarily. However,there were more than 70 vehicles,mostly fleet taxis and ordinary cabs,parked under the partially constructed elevated structure on the entire stretch on Thursday.

Last Thursday,a failure in the truss,being used to place 13 concrete segments between two piers,had caused it to bend and some of the segments had come crashing down. Vehicles parked directly underneath were crushed. The truss has now been kept on one side of the road.

Motorcycles have been parked at the barricaded accident site. “We tell the vehicle owners and the mechanics to not use the space for parking,but they threaten to beat us,” a security guard deployed at the construction site said.

The situation was similar at the monorail construction site opposite the nearby Wadala railway station. After the accident,officials from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) had said they will strictly ensure barricading and ‘no parking’ wherever launching work is underway,but it is difficult to enforce the rule at every structure that is under construction.

The contractor,Simplex Infrastructure Ltd,is in the process of constructing a median below the Eastern Freeway from Orange Gate to prevent parking beneath the structure.

A Simplex official at the administration division said,the company faces resisitance from the residents while enforcing safety measures.

“Parking below any half completed structure is a risk,if we barricade sites,people remove the barricades and park there,” he said. Simplex has deployed experts from within the company’s branches of Delhi and Kolkata to the Eastern Freeway construction sites to ensure implementation of safety measures,he added.

The company held a meeting on Tuesday with its sub-contractors and labourers in the presence of senior officials to reinforce the importance of following such measures.

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