The Uttar Pradesh Police on Wednesday said they had sent five warning letters about safety violations to the corporation responsible for the under-construction flyover that collapsed in Varanasi on Tuesday, The Indian Express reported. The police said they had filed a first information report against the Uttar Pradesh State Bridge Corporation’s Pariyojana Prabandhak in February for obstructing the road.
At least 15 people died in the incident. Chief Minister Adityanath had announced a high-level investigation into the matter. The state had suspended four officials including the project manager after the structure collapsed.
Inspector General Deepak Ratan said they had written five letters to the corporation since November asking them to ensure that the construction work complied with traffic regulations. “Ideally, when they are constructing a portion of the flyover, they are supposed to deploy their own staff for safe traffic regulation and they can request police for assistance,” Ratan told the daily. “But it is we who have been alerting them about the potential problem and they have not acted.”
The corporation’s director, Rajan Mittal, however said that the firm had requested local authorities including the district administration, police and commissioner to regulate traffic in that area during the construction. “There was pressure to meet the deadline but no compromise was made on quality and it would be clear during the inquiry,” Mittal told The Indian Express. “As far as traffic management is concerned, it is not the responsibility of the bridge corporation and we had been writing to the district administration, and reminding them during meetings with the district magistrate and commissioner for traffic management.”
District Magistrate Yogeshwar Ram Mishra refuted Mittal’s claims. “We are not passing the buck but the fact is that we had written letters to them several times to clear the service lane and even the traffic police had written to them to cover the work area and protect it,” Mishra said. But they did not and that is why the FIR has been registered against them.”
Adityanath had announced Rs 5 lakh compensation for families of those who died in the incident and Rs 2 lakh for those injured. Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya announced the setting up of a Setu Suraksha Cell to prevent such incidents.