Two labourers die as shuttering of Bhara Kahu flyover collapses

Published February 26, 2023
People gather at the site of the under-construction Bhara Kahu flyover after its transom collapsed on Saturday, claiming two lives. — Photo by Tanveer Shahzad
People gather at the site of the under-construction Bhara Kahu flyover after its transom collapsed on Saturday, claiming two lives. — Photo by Tanveer Shahzad

ISLAMABAD: Two labourers were killed and four others sustained injuries when a shuttering of the under-construction Bhara Kahu flyover collapsed on Saturday morning.

According to some eye-witnesses, the shuttering collapsed all of a sudden and the labourers working under it were buried under its wreckage, consisting of iron rods and pipes.

The other labourers present at the site and people from nearby areas rushed to the spot to rescue the trapped labourers before arrival of the rescue teams, police and the administration.

The deceased labourers were identified as Mohammad Irfan and Fazil, residents of Mansehra, the police said, adding the injured were identified as Tazim Massih, Shafiq, Anis and Jehangir, the residents of Mansehra and Muzafarabad.

All the injured persons were shifted to Polyclinic and Pims (Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences).

Prime minister takes notice; chief commissioner constitutes inquiry committee

Talking to Dawn, officials of the police and administration said that it would be difficult for them to explain the cause of the incident as it required some technical expertise.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took the notice of the incident and sought a report from the CDA chairman.

The prime minister has directed the authorities to taken stern action against those found negligent.

In a message, Mr Sharif expressed condolence with the bereaved families of the labourers. He also prayed for the early recovery of the injured persons in the incident.

Commissioner Islamabad Noorul Amin Mengal, who is also chairman of the Capital Development Authority (CDA), ordered an inquiry and constituted an eight-member committee.

Mr Mengal claimed that during a preliminary investigation, it was revealed that there was a movement of two to three heavy trailers between 2am and 3am which hit the under-construction flyover. One of the trailers is still stuck there, he added. He pointed out that there could be safety and traffic violations behind the incident. However, he termed it was premature to talk about the reason behind the incident.

The committee, under supervision of the deputy commissioner, was constituted to investigate the incident and fix responsibility, the chief commissioner said, adding that legal action would be taken against those found responsible for the incident.

It is difficult to close the area for construction and ban traffic around the site, he said, adding that there was also a movement of heavy traffic around the construction site.

“However, we have to shut down traffic around the construction site,” he added.

“According to initial findings, some of the protocols have been violated. Moreover, there was negligence at the end of traffic police because during wee hours of Saturday, a heavy truck had hit the shuttering and a few more went through raging. Later, concrete was filled in the shuttering and moments before completion of work it (shuttering) collapsed,” said Mr Mengal.

“We have got the CCTV footage in which it is clearly visible that a heavy truck had hit the shutting at 2am on Saturday. Earlier, two trucks had passed through raging. It was the job of the traffic police to ensure that heavy traffic would not pass from there. I have established a committee, headed by Deputy Commissioner Irfan Nawaz Memon, with a direction to submit a report within 24 hours. However, a report may be complied by Monday,” he said.

When asked if there was any chance of negligence in construction work or flaws in the design, he said there were fewer chances of flaws in the design as 14 pillars were already constructed and each of them was weighing 300 tonnes.

On the other hand, the driver of the trailer rejected the chief commissioner’s claim and said they reached the area at around 3am to 4am and the shuttering collapsed at around 8am. His trailer broke down and as a result, he had parked it along the roadside, the driver added.

CCTVs are installed around the site and anyone can check and see the trailer had not hit the shuttering, he added.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on September 30 had laid the foundation of the Bhara Kahu bypass and directed the National Logistics Cell (NLC) to complete the project within three months instead of four as mentioned in PC-I.

A spokesperson for Polyclinic, Abdul Jabbar Bhutto, while talking to Dawn said a dead body and an injured person were brought to the hospital. “The dead body was of Mohammad Fazil and the injured was Anis, son of the deceased,” he said.

Pims’ spokesperson Dr Haider Abbasi said a body and two injured persons were brought to the hospital. “Both injured had head injuries but they were out of danger,” he said.

Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2023

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