Kota bridge collapse: Hunt on for 50 missing labourers

Last Updated: Saturday, December 26, 2009 - 14:01

Kota: Rescuers Saturday continued to search
for the second day 50 labourers missing after an
under-construction bridge collapsed in the Chambal river here
killing nine persons as authorities mulled whether to demolish
a hanging portion of the structure or give it support.

A rescue team comprising 200 labourers, 200 policemen,
50 officials, 80 Army jawans, 20 experts from calamity relief
management of Gujarat besides six naval divers are engaged in
the rescue work to find those missing including an engineer
working with Hyundai.

In a related development, two officials arrested in
connection with the mishap -- J R Ryu, chief project manager of
Hyundai, and R Chattopadhya, project manager of Gammon -- will
be produced in court.

Kota Police had registered a case against 14 officials
of Gammon and Hyundai in connection with the incident.

The removal of debris was halted last evening as a
portion of the bridge was tilting and posed a threat to the
ongoing rescue work, Divisional Commissioner PL Agarwal said,
adding it was yet to be decided by NHAI whether to demolish
this hanging structure or give it a support.

NHAI is holding a high level meeting on this issue,
Agarwal said.

Senior vice president of Gammon India and Subhash
Patel, a member of NHAI, are at the site to review the ongoing
rescue operation, District Collector T Ravikant said.

The officers were holding a review meeting at the
site and will decide whether to demolish the tilted portion of
the bridge or turn its side safely, the Collector said.

Minister of State for Road Transport Mahadev Singh
Khandela, who visited the site yesterday, said the guilty,
whether Gammon or Hyundai, would be blacklisted if a joint
probe by NHAI and the state government finds any deficiency on
their part.

Khandela said the construction of the bridge was
running almost a year behind schedule, and the company was in
a haste to complete the task.

The construction company engaged in the work has given
a list of 45 labourers, of which 32 were still missing, he
said.

Besides 45 labourers mentioned in the list, some
other workers hailing from U.P. Bihar, Orissa, Punjab were
working at the site, according to eye witnesses.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, December 26, 2009 - 14:01

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