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Negligence led to fatal accident, says Minister

National Institute of Technology team will hold inquiry; three construction firm officials booked

The contractor’s failure to follow safety measures led to the death of a worker engaged in the lifting of a concrete girder for the elevated highway on New Natham Road here on Saturday, Public Works Minister E.V. Velu said on Sunday.

After inspecting the site along with Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan, Mr. Velu said a team of experts from the National Institute of Technology, Tiruchi, would hold an inquiry. JMC, the Mumbai-based construction company which is executing the work, had appointed a contractor to ensure safety at the worksite. But no site engineer was present when the 120- tonne girder was lifted.

“Only two workers had taken up the work using a hydraulic jack based on an advanced technology without being supervised by the site engineer,” Mr. Velu said, doubting the capacity of the device. “…a hydraulic jack of higher capacity should have been used,” he said. The hose got snapped from the jack leading to the accident. Either the hose would not have been properly fixed or its thread would have worn out, he said.

Based on the report from the team of experts, the Collector would take action against the contractors through the National Highways Authority of India, which is executing the work.

The construction of the elevated highway, stretching 7.3 km from Chokkikulam to Chettikulam, began in November 2018.

The Collector has ordered suspension of the work till the inquiry is completed. The police have booked three officials of the construction firm, Pradeep Kumar Jain, Sathyendar Varma and Baskar, for negligence.

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