Lucknow, May 16
Officially 18 people were confirmed to have died in Varanasi when two 50-ft concrete beams came crashing down off 40-ft-high pillars of an under-construction flyover in front of Cantonment railway station in Varanasi on Tuesday evening.
However, on Wednesday the state government released a list of 15 dead, including those identified and unidentified.
Eleven persons have officially been confirmed to have suffered injuries in the accident.
While two patients were released after treatment three are under treatment at the Shri Shiv Prasad Gupta Divisional hospital at Kabir Chaura and five at the Trauma Centre of Sir Sunderlal Hospital at Benaras Hindu University (BHU) and one person has been admitted to a private hospital in Varanasi.
Unofficially the number of those injured in the accident is much higher and said to be around more than two dozen.
The three-member investigation team set up by the state government is already at the accident site in front of the Cantonment railway station working since Wednesday morning.
CM Yogi had set up the three-member panel headed by the Commissioner Agriculture Production Raj Pratap Singh, including two members–Chief Engineer UP Department of Irrigation Bhupender Sharma and Project Manager UP Jal Nigam Rajesh Mittal immediately after the accident.
The panel is expected to investigate the incident, fix responsibility and propose action against those found negligent leading to the tragedy. A detailed report is expected to be presented for the chief minister’s perusal within 48 hours.
The accident occurred at around 5.30 pm during peak traffic time on a ‘Mangal’ which sees more than normal rush on the streets of Varanasi, the city famous for the Sankat Mochan temple dedicated to Hanuman.
Miraculously, three people have been rescued alive during the relief operation being carried out by 7 NDRF teams of around 325 men, said Relief Commissioner Sanjay Kumar.
Heavy duty cranes capable of lifting 200 ton had reached the accident site three hours after the accident.
According to the state government press release, one minibus, two cars, two Bolero jeeps and one tempo were crushed under the debris.
However, eyewitnesses claim that besides the minibus at least five cars and more than two dozen two-wheelers have been crushed under the two beams that fell off while being placed on the pillars.
Taking preliminary action the Uttar Pradesh government has suspended four officials of the Uttar Pradesh Bridge Corporation Limited.
The suspended officials are Chief Project Manager HC Tiwari, project manager KR Sudan, Assistant Engineer Rajendra Singh and Junior Engineer Lal Chand.
Deputy chief minister and PWD minister KP Maurya, who had rushed to Varanasi on Tuesday evening, has announced the setting up of a Setu Suraksha (Bridge Safety) Cell.
The 2,261-metre flyover was being constructed by the UPBCL at a cost of Rs 129 crore in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency. More than half of the work had been completed.
Speaking to the media at the Varanasi Circuit House, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath assured of more punitive action against the guilty once the three-member probe panel submitted its report within 48 hours.
Reaching Varanasi after midnight, Yogi visited the injured at the Kabir Chaura divisional hospital and BHU’s Trauma Centre. He has assured of free treatment to all the injured.
Earlier, Yogi had announced Rs 5 lakh as ex gratia payment to the kin of the deceased and Rs 2 lakh each to the injured.