In a devastating incident on Monday night, at least 17 workers tragically lost their lives as a girder machine fell on them during the construction of the third phase of Samruddhi Expressway in Thane district, Maharashtra. The machine, a special-purpose mobile gantry crane used in bridge construction, collapsed on the slab of a bridge in Shahapur tehsil.
Rescue efforts at the site are being carried out by two National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams, who are diligently searching for survivors. Unfortunately, at least five workers are feared to be trapped inside the collapsed structure, as reported by NDRF.
The mobile gantry crane is an essential equipment used for installing precast box girders in highway and high-speed rail bridge construction projects. As authorities and local agencies continue the rescue operation, the death toll is expected to rise.
Reacting to the tragedy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased workers. He expressed deep sadness over the mishap and assured that all possible measures are being taken to provide proper assistance to those affected. The Prime Minister announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) for the next of kin of each deceased worker. Additionally, Rs. 50,000 will be given to the injured.
The Samruddhi Mahamarg, officially named Hindu Hrudaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg, is a 701-km-long expressway connecting Mumbai and Nagpur. It passes through ten districts, including Nagpur, Washim, Wardha, Ahmednagar, Buldhana, Aurangabad, Amravati, Jalna, Nashik, and Thane. The ambitious project is being undertaken by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation.
The first phase of the expressway, connecting Nagpur to Shirdi, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December 2022, covering a distance of 520 km. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Eknath Shinde, had announced that the third and final phase would be completed by the end of this year.
As the nation mourns the tragic loss of lives in the crane collapse, the focus remains on rescuing any survivors and investigating the cause of the accident. The incident serves as a somber reminder of the inherent risks in large-scale construction projects and highlights the need for robust safety measures to protect the lives of workers in such endeavors.
Sources By Agencies