At least 18 people were killed and several feared trapped under debris after portion of an under-construction flyover in Varanasi collapsed on Tuesday. The flyover that was under-construction, collapsed in Cantt. area on Tuesday afternoon. Several people and vehicles were also reported to be buried under the rubble. Four officials were suspended by the state government, including two project managers and engineers.
Eighteen bodies have been recovered from the Varanasi flyover collapse site, UP Relief Commissioner Sanjay Kumar said.
"It is feared that several people are buried under the rubble," an official said, adding rescue teams were at spot to rescue those trapped. Some vehicles, including a bus, were crushed in the collapse, they said.
At least three persons had been rescued, a National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) official said.
The Uttar Pradesh Bridge Construction Corporation was constructing the 2261-metre-long bridge at a cost of Rs 129 crore, officials said. The span which fell was laid barely three months ago, they added.
The mishap took place in front of the local Cantt railway station. Two dozen persons have been injured in the incident, a police official said.
Many cars have been buried under the heap of rubble, district officials said, adding that the death toll could go up once the operation to clear the debris is completed.
The flyover was being constructed by the Uttar Pradesh State Bridge Corporation.
Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar informed that seven NDRF teams comprising 325 men have been deployed at the mishap site. "16 dead bodies have been recovered so far and three persons have been pulled out alive from under the debris," he told IANS, adding adding that three-four people could still be trapped.
Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh government has constituted a three-member committee comprising Agriculture Production Commissioner (APC) Raj Pratap Singh, Irrigation Chief Engineer Bhupendra Sharma and Rajesh Mittal, the Managing Director of UP Jal Nigam, to probe the incident and submit a report within the next 48-hours.
The team has been asked to immediately leave for Varanasi and hold investigations.
Varanasi District Magistrate Yogeshwar Ram Mishra said for now their prime focus is on rescue and relief work.
Work on the flyover between Chauka Ghat bus stand and Lahartara had been initiated during the regime of the Samajwadi Party (SP).
Expressing sympathies with the kin of those who were killed, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced Rs 5 lakh compensation to the relatives of the victims. Yogi Adityanath also announced Rs 2 lakh compensation to those who were injured in this accident.
The UP chief minister also ordered probe to find out what caused the accident.
"Am saddened by the loss of lives in this incident. My sympathies are with kin of those who lost their lives," Yogi Adityanath said.
Varanasi flyover collapse: PM Modi, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu condole deaths
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the deaths in the flyover collapse in Varanasi. Modi said the Uttar Pradesh government was monitoring the situation. Varanasi is the parliamentary constituency of the prime minister.
"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," 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.— Chowkidar Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 15, 2018
In another tweet, he said he had spoken with UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. "The UP Government is monitoring the situation very closely and is working on the ground to assist the affected."
I spoke to UP CM Yogi Adityanath Ji regarding the situation due to the collapse of an under-construction flyover in Varanasi. The UP Government is monitoring the situation very closely and is working on the ground to assist the affected.— Chowkidar Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 15, 2018
Naidu too condoled the deaths in the incident in a tweet.
Saddened by loss of lives in a flyover collapse in Varanasi. My heartfelt condolences to bereaved families and prayers for speedy recovery of those injured. #Varanasi @UPGovt pic.twitter.com/SZ6oaIbGmX— VicePresidentOfIndia (@VPSecretariat) May 15, 2018
Expressing grief over the accident, Congress president Rahul Gandhi asked Congress workers to extend help in rescue operations.
वाराणसी में निर्माणाधीन फ्लाईओवर के गिरने से 18 लोगों की हुई मृत्यु से आहत हूँ। बहुत सारे लोग घायल हुए हैं और कई अभी भी मलबे के तले दबे हैं जिनमें बच्चे भी शामिल हैं। स्थानीय कांग्रेस कार्यकर्ताओं से अनुरोध है कि दुर्घटना से प्रभावित परिवारों की हर संभव मदद करें।— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 15, 2018