BENGALURU: Three months have elapsed after the terrible mishap involving a sewage treatment plant (STP) at Hebbal, but the inquiry by an external agency is yet to commence. Three engineers died and 16 others were injured when the scaffolding of the digester of the STP collapsed on July 17, bringing all construction work to a grinding halt.
The Chennai-based CSIR-Structural Engineering Research Centre, entrusted with the task of finding out the technical reasons behind the accident, has asked for three months to submit its report. It has also asked the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) to pay Rs 30 lakh for its efforts. BWSSB was keen on getting the inquiry completed in a month and hoped to pay much lesser, but the agency’s demand appears to have prevailed.
BWSSB chairman Tushar Girinath said that there has been some delay. “We have approved a payment of Rs 30 lakh to the agency and it will begin its inquiry shortly.”
Representatives from the agency, who visited the site in the aftermath of the accident, insisted that all the debris be removed so that they can examine the spot. Demolition experts had to be scouted for and the debris cleared. Police permission had to be taken. All these aspects contributed to some delay.
Chief Engineer of Waste Water Management, BWSSB, Nithyananda Kumar confirmed that work had come to a complete standstill there. “The external inquiry is yet to commence. No work is presently going on at Hebbal,” he said.
Another official said that the inquiry assumes significance because if it emerges that the basic plan for the structure was flawed, then work on the STP needs to begin from scratch. “However, if the design was not at fault, then we can start the construction as per the original plan,” he added.
An internal inquiry report by the BWSSB had held the contractor as well as three senior engineers guilty of dereliction of duty and they were suspended.
The STP has a March 2020 deadline. “Waiting up to three months would be a long time. We will try to see if some other arrangement can be made to restart the stalled work,” added Girinath.