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Bomikhal flyover collapse: Is the State Government going soft on Panda Infraprojects?

The inquiry report of last year’s mishap was submitted to the CM in September. Yet, recommendations are not enforced

Published: 05th May 2018 04:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th May 2018 04:22 AM   |  A+A-

The flyover mishap site at Bomikhal on Friday | Express

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR:As Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik ordered a high level probe into Thursday’s Bomikhal flyover mishap which claimed a worker’s life, questions are being raised as to why no action was taken on the basis of inquiry report which was submitted after the September 2017 mishap in the same project.

The report of the inquiry panel was submitted to the Chief Minister on September 26, 2017 when he held the Works Department portfolio. The inquiry was conducted by a committee comprising the then Chief Engineer (Designs) and Chief Engineer (Road Section).

Works Secretary Nalini Kanta Pradhan, who was given a year’s extension by the Government earlier this year, had said after the September accident that the construction company Panda Infraprojects Pvt Ltd has been show-caused as a part of the process for its blacklisting. He said the firm had not submitted design of the flyover before undertaking the project.

Yet, the same construction company was allowed to execute the project which has drawn allegations that the Government is going soft on Panda Infraprojects Pvt Ltd because some influential BJD leaders have financial interests in the firm.

The panel of two senior engineers which probed into the September mishap had categorically maintained that standard operating procedure (SOP) was not followed and safety guidelines were blatantly violated in construction of the flyover leading to the collapse of a slab in which a businessman was killed and 20 others injured.

The report had also recommended major penalty for such lapses. It also held three suspended and arrested engineers of the Works Department responsible for the flyover collapse. All three have been reinstated by now.

However, the probe report seems to have been completely ignored as the same contractor - which the report recommended to be blacklisted - was entrusted with the project work once the public outrage over the last year’s collapse subsided.

Though the report talked about flouting of SOP, no step was taken to enforce it after the mishap which resulted in Thursday night’s accident. In fact, the mishap took place when the iron rods lifted by a crane hit the iron frame being erected as part of the flyover. Neither the area was well-illuminated nor was adequate safety measures put in place by Panda Infraprojects.

The report had found the then executive engineer Dukhabandhu Behera, deputy executive engineer Bansidhar Praharaj and assistant engineer Kishore Kumar Rout responsible for the mishap.Opposition political parties alleged that the inquiry ordered by the Chief Minister is a ploy to buy time till the outrage subsides.

Panel’s suggestions

The panel of two senior engineers had maintained that SOP was not followed and safety guidelines were blatantly violated in construction of the flyover leading to collapse of a slab in which a businessman was killed and 20 others injured

Major penalty for such lapses recommended by panel. It also held three engineers -Dukhabandhu Behera, Bansidhar Praharaj and Kishore Kumar Rout - of Works Dept responsible for flyover collapse. All three have been reinstated



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