Six months after Deoghar cable car tragedy, no sign of investigation report or remedial action

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By Shambhu Nath Choudhary

Ranchi, Nov 6 (IANS): The high-level committee’s investigation report into the cable car incident at Trikut Hill in Jharkhand on April 10 is still pending as the panel has yet to complete the investigation, nearly six months after the incident , despite the two-month delay.

This is a classic example of how governments only act days after such incidents and then virtually forget about them.

Trikut hill in Deoghar is a famous religious tourist center. On April 10, around 6 p.m., three people were killed and more than a dozen and a half injured when one of the cables of the cable car broke.

A total of 78 people out of 23 of the cable car’s 24 carriages were trapped in the air. Of these, 28 people were rescued the same day, while 48 people were left hanging without food or water for the next 36 to 45 hours.

After 45 hours of high-risk rescue operations by the Indian Air Force, National Disaster Response Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police and Army, 46 trapped people were rescued. rescued, while two died during the rescue operation. One victim died before the cart even fell.

It has been revealed that the private company that runs the cable car has not maintained it to standard, nor has it corrected deficiencies revealed by the safety audit carried out three weeks before the accident by a government agency.

The agency identified 24 flaws in the 1,770m cable car, which were ignored by the company.

The Jharkhand government issued a notification for the formation of a commission of inquiry headed by the Secretary of State for Finance, Ajoy Kumar Singh on April 19.

The committee was instructed to complete the investigation within 60 days, but did not reach the accident site until 70 days after the accident to begin its work.

The committee failed to complete its report due to the delay in receiving the report of the well that caused the accident, from the metallurgical laboratory, sources said.

However, it should be noted that the state tourism department received this report almost a month ago, but it has still not reached the commission of inquiry. Following the Morbi tragedy in Gujarat, the investigative group has written to the Department of Tourism, demanding the report from the lab, and will submit its report soon, sources said.

Meanwhile, the Haradih-Budhadih Bridge, built across the Kanchi River near Ranchi at an outlay of Rs 13 crore, was washed away even before its inauguration, due to heavy rains triggered by Cyclone Yaas on May 27, 2021.

Chief Minister Hemant Soren then announced the formation of a high-level committee to investigate and warned that corruption would not be tolerated.

The committee headed by the chief engineer of the Road Construction Department, Murari Bhagat, was tasked with investigating the matter and submitting a report within a month. Even after a year and a half of collapse, no action has been taken against anyone. Besides Bhagat, chief engineer of the building construction department, JP Singh was also a member of the committee.

In 2017, the bridge built over the Sewane River in the village of Dandai Kalan in Hazaribagh collapsed in just four years. Complaints of poor construction came to the fore even when the bridge was being built.

After the investigation, then-executive engineer of the special division in 2013, Gopal Ram Rajak, was suspended. The contractor was commissioned to rebuild the pillar of the bridge.

In Jharkhand, more than three dozen bridges have collapsed over the past decade due to substandard construction, but no action against the culprits except a few months suspension has been taken. observed in any of these cases.

Some of these collapses relate to the bridges over the Tehale and Koel rivers in Palamu and over the Pusai river in Dhanbad.

There are still many such bridges in the state, which pose a daily hazard. For example, the Chirkunda-Barakar bridge linking Jharkhand in Bengal with Dhanbad has two of its pillars on the verge of collapse.

On the Chirkunda side, the ground and stones under the second pillar of the bridge shifted, while a crack was seen in the fourth pillar, making it susceptible to collapse at any time.

The bridge was built in 1925 by Kumardhubi Engineering Works Ltd (KEW). The sign there clearly indicates that vehicles carrying a maximum load of 10 tonnes can pass. But ignoring this instruction, many commercial vehicles pass through it every day. Life and property will suffer a major loss if this collapses, as well as the connection between Jharkhand and Bengal will be severed.

Similarly, in Hazaribagh district, the bridge built across the Sewane River connecting Daru and Tatijharia blocks is damaged and sinking on one side, which can lead to a major accident at any time.

The construction of this bridge was completed a few years ago at the cost of several million rupees and it was badly damaged in a short time. This bridge, located on the main road connects Dhanbad, Giridih, Gomia, Bokaro etc.

The bridge connecting Dhanbad-Jamtara to Bajra Ghat of the Barakar River and the Auranga River Bridge to Latehar are under threat due to illegal sand mining.

A bridge over the Karo River on the Govindpur-Urmi road in Khunti district was damaged in August. Part of the bridge has collapsed and could cause a major accident any day.


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