Highway Overpass in Varanasi Collapsed, Killed 18

A portion of a flyover (under construction) collapsed on a busy road in Varanasi today. It was fatal for at least 18 people as it crushed a mini bus, cars and two wheeler. The death toll is likely to increase with time.

A mini bus and four cars came under the slab, officials said. Eight to 10 two-wheeler were also trapped, Director General of Police OP Singh told PTI.

Uttar Pradesh Relief Commissioner Sanjay Kumar said that they recovered 18 bodies till now.

Five National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams, with about 250 personnel, rushed to the accident site.

An NDRF official said at least three people were rescued. Rescue workers used metal cutters to free people caught in their vehicles.

Chief Project Manager H C Tiwari and three others were suspended late tonight. Authorities said no work was going on when the concrete slab crashed.

Accident and Politics

Varanasi is our Prime Minister’s constituency. So, politics on this issue was inevitable.

PM Modi expressed grief through Twitter. He tweeted, ”

“Extremely saddened by the loss of lives due to the collapse of an under-construction flyover in Varanasi. I pray that the injured recover soon. Spoke to officials and asked them to ensure all possible support to those affected.”

In another tweet, he spoke about the UP government and assured that they are taking actions. He said, “The UP Government is monitoring the situation very closely and is working on the ground to assist the affected.”

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced a three-member committee to probe into the accident and give its report within 48 hours. Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya headed for Varanasi from Lucknow.

Opposition Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav attacked the state government and pointed out that corruption was the root cause in the tragedy.

“This is the reality of development in the top-priority constituency of the country. The ministers of the state used to visit this district for regular inspections. Is this incident an accident or result of corruption? This should be told to the people of Varanasi by the state government,” the SP chief said.

He also appealed his party workers to cooperate with the administration in relief and rescue operations.

The extension work of the bridge started in October 2015. The deadline was June but till now only 45 out of 63 pillars are constructed.

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