Three killed in Mumbai as slab crashes

Mumbai, Feb 7 (IANS) At least three labourers were killed and six injured when a slab from an under construction bridge adjacent to Mumbai airport fell while being hoisted by a crane, officials said Thursday.

The incident occurred around 11.45 p.m. Wednesday when a 30-metre slab from the Sahar Elevated Access Road near Mumbai Airport crashed to the ground, city disaster control officials said. The crane hoisting it also collapsed, trapping the workers underneath.

The labourers who lost their lives have been identified as Santosh Wagh, 26, Ram Balidas, 44, and a 30-year old man whose identity is yet to be ascertained.

The incident has put a question mark on the safety of the mega-project. Police have detained three people in connection with the incident.

The injured have been admitted to the nearby Holy Spirit and Seven Hills hospitals for treatment.

The bridge, part of the two-kilometre Sahar Elevated Access Road, is coming up adjacent to the T2-terminal at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport and will be a vital link connecting the congested Western Express Highway direct to the airport.

This is the third incident of its kind hitting a major urban infrastructure project in the past six months, raising safety concerns.

The incident came just four days after Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan declared the project (Sahar Elevated Access Road) among the mega-infrastructure projects that will change the face of Mumbai this year.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority held the Mumbai International Airport Ltd. (MIAL) responsible for the crash.

"The (MMRDA) makes it clear that the MIAL is constructing the 1.5-km stretch from Hyatt Regency to International Airport Terminal-2, which is in the MIAL jurisdiction, where the accident has taken place. The MMRDA has no role to play as far as the construction of this stretch is concerned," it said in a statement this afternoon.

The MMRDA is constructing the two-km stretch of the elevated road from Hanuman Road Junction on the Western Express Highway up to Hyatt Regency on Sahar Road, according to the statement.

Chavan discussed the issue with MMRDA commissioner Rahul Asthana. Though the details of the meeting are not available, officials indicated that the matter came up with Chavan taking a grim view of the development which has embarrassed the government.

A Larsen & Toubro official said the company, which is a contractor for the project, is extending full cooperation to the police and government agencies as also the victims and survivors.

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