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19 Killed As Under-Construction Flyover Collapses In Varanasi, 4 Officials Suspended

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| May 16 , 2018 , 09:27 IST

At least 19 people have been killed and more than 12 others injured after two concrete beams fell off of 40-foot-high pillars of an under-construction flyover in Varanasi on Tuesday evening. The massive concrete beams came crashing down on busy traffic in the area between the Cantonment railway station and Lahartara rail over-bridge.

A total of 9 vehicles, including a bus, 2 SUVs, 2 cars, autos, and two-wheelers faced the brunt of the beams that crashed down upon them. A total of 4 officials have been suspended for the flyover collapse incident, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said. 

"After being held responsible for the incident, Chief Project Manager HC Tiwari, Project Manager KR Sudan, Assistant Engineer Rajesh Singh and engineer Lal Chand have been suspended with immediate effect," Maurya said in a statement

A National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) comprising 350 personnel, Army Medical Corps and police launched rescue operations which took more than 4 hours to extricate the bodies of the victims after 200-tonne capacity cranes partially lifted the beams. The cranes had to be called in from 15km away, further delaying the rescue efforts.

Before the arrival of the NDRF, local slum dwellers swung into action upon hearing the thud of the collapsing beam and the cries of the passengers. Several eye-witnesses claim that the rescue operations began after an hour and by that time many trapped under the rubble had died.

“Luckily, few passengers were seated in the bus when the beams fell. We rescued them from the wreckage and rushed them to hospital on auto-rickshaws. But pulling out trapped people from mangled SUVs, cars and two-wheelers was impossible for us,” an eye-witness said to TOI.

The two beams had been mounted on pillar No. 79 and80 a week back and were left unsecured, without locks. As the slabs came crashing down, the labourers and contractors fled from the scene.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has announced an ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh each for the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 2 lakh for the critically injured. CM Yogi and deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya are in Varanasi to take stock of the situation and have set up a high-powered 3-member panel to look into the incident.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed condolences on the incident and conveyed that he had spoken to CM Yogi regarding the Varanasi flyover collapse and that the UP government is monitoring the situation 'very-closely'.

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Dust storm followed by gusty winds and rain on 13 May , 2018 lashed north India reaching out to some States in Southern India , killing over 80 up to now and causing widespread destruction , a reminiscent of something , more or less , similar to that happened in first week of May 2018 across the northern India. These happenings are one of following alerts of this Vedic astrology writer issued in April , on 8 May and after in present year 2018 for more care and appropriate strategy :- (1) The ongoing planetary impacts for India suggest a need for more care and appropriate strategy against weather vagaries or weather extremities by way of dust storms , thunder storm , lightening , hails , landslides etc during 8 May to 6 June , more so from 8 May to 25 May , in the present year 2018. (2) It may be correct to be on guard against fire sensitive substances or fire like gas , power , dry leaves etc during the aforesaid period of time. (3) It may also be apt to take more care and appropriate strategy against likely quake jolts during the said period and while driving on road or rail. (4) Health concerns relating to head , stomach , eyes , causing headache , body ache , fever , indigestion , weakening of general physical stamina or weakening of immunity system in the body. It may be apt to have a controlled or systematized diet which easily digests, enough pure or filtered water , fresh vegetables and seasonal fruits , and if there is no objection from medical pint of view , take small quantity of river or sea fish periodically , say weekly. (5) 16 and 17 May in present year 2018 also look to be , in particular and in distinct seriousness , calling for more care and appropriate strategy against any of aforesaid including dust storm , thunder storm , lightening etc. The worrisome concern could begin towards sunset - tonight even on 15 May , 2018. (6) Political , Judiciary , religion , what is right and what is wrong themes , could be in focus for heightened discussion and analysis during said time. Some may be anguished . (7) Northern States like HP , J&K , Uttarakhand , Chandigarh , Punjab , Haryana , Delhi-NCR , UP , Rajasthan , some parts of Bihar , some parts of West Bengal , north –east States of Meghalaya , Manipur , Mizoram , Arunachal Pradesh and could even touch reach out to some southern States like Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. (8) Having said that , these are indications of likely trends in vulnerable regions or locations, quantum and size of which can be reasonably figured out imaginatively only while more care and appropriate strategy has weight to cope up or outdo wholly or substantially. So these alerts need not be construed to be alarm for panic.