BENGALURU: It was around 11.15 am, Gaurav Kumar was looking forward to his steaming cup of tea and making his way out of the construction site where he was working, when there was a deafening sound. Metal rods rained down on Gaurav, burying him.
One of the metal scaffolds had come loose, triggering a massive collapse of hundreds of metal rods which came crashing down on at least 30-odd workers constructing a gas production dome at Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) water treatment plant, off Nagawara Main Road.
A total of about 600 workers were at the site, spread over 10 acres, where another 24 such domes were being constructed. A routine day at work had turned into a disaster. Gaurav was trapped for almost an hour when teams of the national and state disaster response teams arrived at the scene, and pulled him out with only minor injuries.
“I was walking out for a tea break, and the next moment there was a huge sound. Before I could realise what was happening, I was trapped under the metal rods. And debris. I kept screaming to get attention so I could be pulled out in time. Worse, I noticed two lifeless bodies and thought I too would meet the same fate,” said Gaurav, who hails from West Bengal.
“It was my sheer luck that I was at the edge of the site, and escaped with minor injuries. Had I been a little slower, God knows what would have happened to me!” he added.
Three of his colleagues died in the tragedy, while six others have been admitted to hospital. At least 23 workers removed from under the metal scaffolds with minor injuries.
Mazber Shaikh, also from West Bengal, said, “There are more than 600 workers at the site which is more than 10 acres. We stay in sheds here and most of us are from West Bengal, Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. I rushed to the spot after hearing the collapse, and we used our tools and machinery to lift the metal scaffolds to rescue the workers.”
Santosh Kumar, team commander from NDRF, said: “We got a call at 12:15pm and reached immediately to pull out some of the survivors who were trapped. The NDRF and Fire department worked in coordination to aid the trapped labourers escape. We used canine (dog) search to thoroughly sweep the site for any more casualties possibly under the debris. No one was reported missing after a count was taken.”
Rs 5 lakh compensation for kin of dead
The state government has announced Rs 5 lakh to the families of the three dead workers, and the compensation will be given by the contractor (Enviro Control Associates India Pvt Ltd) and BWSSB, who are responsible for the accident. Lack of safety measures has been blamed for the accident, according to the police and fire & emergency personnel.