November 19, 2020 1:05:02 am
Five months after a section of a flyover wall collapsed in Rajkot and killed two men, the police have booked West Gujarat Expressway Limited, a subsidiary of the troubled IL&FS, and two engineering firms engaged as consultants for the project.
On the basis of a complaint filed by Pankaj Kumar Roy, project director of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) in Rajkot, the Aji Dam police station in Rajkot city have booked WGEL, Sai Consulting Engineers Private Limited (SCEPL) and Vadia Techno-Engineering Services Limited/Varad Associates under IPC Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 114 (common intent).
While WGEL is the concessioner which had won the bid to widen the National Highway 27 section from Rajkot to Jetpur, SCEPL had served as the independent engineering consultant for the project of the flyover bridge at Aji Dam Chowkadi. Vadia Techno-Engineering and Varad Associates are the present independent engineers for the highway stretch.
“In collusion with one another, the accused prepared faulty an inaccurate design of the retaining wall…used substandard material in construction of the wall and by not doing proper construction as well as periodic repairs, constructed the wall despite knowing well that construction of such poor quality can cause the wall to collapse which can lead to casualties and thus committed an offence,” the FIR notes.
A 15-metre stretch of the retaining wall of the flyover had collapsed on a rainy day on June 8 this year. Vijay Virda and Bhupat Miyatra, both residents of Rajkot city, who were passing on the service road, were trapped under the debris and killed.
An expert team which had visited the accident site had observed that instead of the plain cement concrete (PCC) structure, a reinforced cement concrete (RCC) structure of the wall could have prevented such an occurrence. A judicial enquiry by the district magistrate of Rajkot had also concluded that design and execution of the flyover at the Aji Dam Chowkadi was faulty and that it was not being maintained properly.
The FIR notes that on the basis of the Rajkot district magistrate’s inquiry report, the Gujarat government had written to the NHAI, seeking action against those responsible for the faulty design and execution as well as insufficient maintenance of the bridge. Roy had approached Aji Dam police subsequent to a direction by the NHAI in October this year.
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