Negligence led to Anakapalle flyover mishap, allege locals

Cases booked against two officials of private contracting firm

Anakapalle locals and political leaders on Wednesday alleged that a cocktail of poor construction quality, human error and lack of safety measures led to the collapse of two girders from a flyover here that left two people dead and three injured.

The under-construction flyover, coming up at the Y-Junction in Anakapalle, is part of the Anandapuram-Anakapalle highway project. Two concrete girders spanning 40 m in width and weighing over 35 tonnes came crashing down on a lorry and another vehicle that were below the flyover on Tuesday evening, sending shockwaves in the town.

The highway project covers a distance of 51 km and is being built at an estimated budget of ₹2,000 crore. Once completed, the flyover will connect the State Highway to NH-16. Sources said that the private construction company tasked with the project had erected the pre-fabricated the girders two weeks ago.

Senior architects and structural engineers in the city say that while there may not have been any faults in the structural design, the incident itself could have occurred due to improper alignment of the girders.

Speaking to The Hindu, CPI(M) State secretariat member Ch. Narasinga Rao, who visited the accident spot, said that the government should conduct a full-fledged investigation by constituting a committee headed by a retired judge to ascertain the cause of the mishap. The investigation team should verify whether there were issues in the design or quality of the materials used for construction. The State government should immediately arrest the contractor and also blacklist the company for their negligence, Mr. Narasinga Rao said.

CPI(M) district secretary K. Lokanadham added that the Anandapuram-Anakapalle project should have been completed by July, but had overshot its target. He also alleged lack of proper supervision and measures by the National Highway Authorities of India (NHAI) during its construction. The State government should pay ex gratia of ₹1 crore to the family members of the victim and provide proper treatment to the injured, he said.

Residents shocked

The incident has left residents of Anakapalle in shock. People questioned how the officials allowed passing of vehicles under a bridge which was still under construction.

“A large number of people from Vizag travel under the flyover. The NHAI should have asked the contractor to cordon off the area and not allow free passage below it. What if there was a school bus or several two-wheelers under the bridge when the accident occurred?” asked A. Radhakrishna, a resident of Anakapalle.

Soon after the incident, officials cordoned off the route under the bridge and diverted the traffic from Anakapalle to Vizag city, resulting in long traffic snarls.

‘Delayed response’

Locals alleged that even as the incident was reported at around 5 p.m., rescue operations commenced an hour later at around 8 p.m. The bodies of the victims were removed from the cabins of the vehicles at around 11 p.m, locals alleged.

Anakapalle Town police inspector L. Bhaskar Rao said that cases have been booked under relevant sections of the IPC against the construction manager and general manager of the private contracting firm Dilip Buildcon.

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