Six days after a portion of a 5-km-long under-construction elevated road collapsed in Gurgaon, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) said it has found evidence indicating that there may have been deficiencies and lapses on the part of the vendors.
NHAI officials said they have taken action against the vendors, including “immediate demobilisation” of the senior quality-cum-material expert at the site and the team leader-cum-senior bridge engineer, both of whom have also been debarred from engagement in any NHAI projects for two years.
Show-cause notices have been issued to the independent engineer for lapses in discharging duties, and to two firms which prepared and reviewed the designs and drawings of the construction work. A show-cause notice has also been issued to the concessionaire for deficiencies in package 1 of the project, of which the elevated road is a part.
“NHAI is committed to follow the highest standards in highway construction and any lapses in these will be dealt with zero tolerance. Strict action will be taken against the defaulters and they will be debarred from NHAI projects for a long period with severe penalties,” said Dr Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, the NHAI chairman.
The elevated road is part of a 21-km-long project focused on six laning and strengthening of the Sohna road stretch between Rajiv Chowk and Sohna. The project has been divided into two packages — a 9-km stretch between Rajiv Chowk and Badshahpur, of which the elevated road is a part, and a 12-km stretch between Badshahpur and Sohna. The entire project will cost around Rs 1,300 crore.
Around 9.30 pm last Saturday, a 40-metre portion of the spine between pillars number 10 and 11 collapsed. Although there were no fatalities in the incident, police officials said that two labourers had sustained minor injuries and had to be administered first aid.
Officials from NHAI suspect that the quality of the concrete of the crushed segment may be responsible for the collapse, and have already sent samples to a third-party laboratory for testing. It has also formed a four-member committee of technical experts to examine lapses in the construction, suggest remedial measures, and conduct a detailed investigation into the matter.
In the days after the collapse, work on the structure as well as the rest of the 21-km-long project was suspended after NHAI officials, on inspecting the site, discovered violation of safety norms, including the absence of traffic marshals at the construction site and lack of proper barricading in several areas. The NHAI earlier this week wrote to the concessionaires of both packages, imposing a penalty of Rs 50,000 per day till the requisite safety measures are put in place.