PUNE: A 40-year-old man, who was returning home after immersing his wife's ashes, was among four people killed when a hoarding in railway station premises fell on vehicles on the adjoining road here Friday, police said.
The 40-feet hoarding collapsed on vehicles which had stopped at Shahir Amar Shaikh Chowk traffic light near Pune Railway Station, they said, adding five people were injured in the incident.
The hoarding was being dismantled at around 2 pm by a contractor hired by the railways when it came crashing down, Deputy Commissioner of Police B Singh said.
The deceased were identified as Shamrao Kasar (70), Shamrao Dhotre (48), Shivaji Pardeshi (40) and Javed Khan (40).
It was another blow of cruel fate for the family of Pardeshi as his wife had passed away Thursday and according to a friend of the family, he along with his son, daughter and mother were returning home in the auto rickshaw after immersing his wife's ashes in the river when the accident occurred.
Pardeshi was killed while the other three received minor injuries.
There seemed to be some negligence on the part of the contractor, the DCP said, adding a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder was registered against the contractor and his workers under the Indian Penal Code.
Fire brigade officials said five auto-rickshaws, a two-wheeler and a car were damaged in the accident.
The injured were rushed to a nearby government-run hospital.
"Since it was afternoon, there was not much traffic. Had there been more traffic, there would have been many more casualties," a local resident said.
A Central Railway official said it has initiated an inquiry.
"We have constituted a high-level committee to probe the incident," Pune Divisional Railway Manager Milind Deouskar said.
The railways had given a contract to an outdoor advertisement agency to put up hoardings on the railway premises a few years ago, but as the agency did not follow safety norms, it was asked to remove the structures, he said.
"As the agency did not dismantle the structures, we hired a contractor to dismantle them," Deouskar said.
Some mistake took place while removing the hoarding and instead of falling on the railway premises it crashed on the roadside, he said.
The railways will provide compensation to the families of the deceased and medical help to the injured, he said.