Citizens' Issues
Metro slab collapses in Mumbai: Privatisation without accountability

A series of accidents in the Mumbai Metro being built by the Reliance group of Anil Ambani throws open the question whether private sector involvement, without accountability, can be the answer to our infrastructure needs

 
A 50-metre slab of the metro track on the Andheri-Kurla road on Tuesday collapsed. Two people, who were recued from under the debris, have been taken to Seven Hills hospital in Marol area of Andheri East. The Andheri-Kurla road is one of the busiest roads in Mumbai suburbs. A big crowd has gathered around the accident site. The police personnel are trying to clear the crowd. This puts a question mark on the already delayed project of Mumbai metro.
 
NDTV reports that one death has been confirmed in the accident. The channel says eight persons are injured. Fire department says two injured were taken to hospital. NDTV quoted fire officials as saying that two people who were trapped under the debris have been taken to hospital. CNN IBN reports that at least 10 persons are feared injured. However, reports are still a little sketchy about how many people may be injured.
 
This isn’t the first incident to affect the construction work on the city’s first metro line. In May 2008, a person was killed and another was seriously injured after a pile rig at a Mumbai Metro Rail construction site in Andheri (West) collapsed on an auto-rickshaw. In April this year part of a 400-tonne crane being used for work on the metro line, veered off the truck carrier and crashed on a portion of the Sarvodaya Hospital in Ghatkopar, says the Mumbai Mirror. In 2009, the near-collapse of a steel reinforcement cage and temporary scaffolding for a concrete pillar in Andheri (East) afternoon left four workers injured.
 
After today’s accident, traffic has already been affected on the Andheri-Kurla road where the incident has taken place, so it’s perhaps best to avoid the road if you can. The only saving grace perhaps is that there has been a respite from the rains which is allowing rescue work to proceed smoothly.
 
Rescue personnel have been rushed to the spot and are currently attempting to extricate people who may have been trapped. Most of those trapped are workers who were working on the metro line, the first of the city.
 
Earlier, on 19th July a crane holding up 100 tonnes of concrete gave way, causing the construction material to come crashing down from a height of 15 feet, crushing taxis, dumpers and an oil tanker. One person died. Simplex Construction was constructing the bridge. A few months ago, a portion of the Lalbaug flyover collapsed. Simplex was the contractor for that project too.
 
This series of quick accidents in high profile projects only exposes the fact that private sector involvement in infrastructure would lead to unpleasant fallout if accountability is not strictly enforced. 
 

 

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COMMENTS

deepaksb

5 years ago

Its just one of the few scattered accidents on site-work entrusted to a private organisation.(Contractors)



Private contractors are equally worse like Govt. organisation -PWD etc.



For example on Andheri-Kurla road and other area of metro under construction,TONS of steel and concrete junk is lying for couple of months,which makes driving a horrifying experience.



Some of concrete structures-water is leaking continuously with and without rain.





THERE IS NO COMPETENT GOVT./PVT SAFETY AGENCY MONITORING CONTRACTOR'S WORK.There are some transport vehicles parked by contractors which have also not moved from its position for couple of months.



Road traffic department appears to be with hand in gloves with private contractors.Security guards appointed by contractors are controlling traffic-where as traffic control is job of Mumbai Police-traffic department and to my knowledge traffic control is NOT OUT SOURCED !!!!



I think we the ordinary citizens of Mumbai are used to such avoidable inconveniences and harassment because we do not have time and energy to protest.

REPLY

deepaksb

In Reply to deepaksb 5 years ago

Its really surprising that so many readers of such eye opener article from Moneylife-No one has NOT given any comment/s on the way such an important infrastructure project executed / mis managed by a private organisation in financial capital of the country-i.e.Mumbai !!!!!!

I think we the ordinary citizens of Mumbai are used to such avoidable inconveniences and harassment because we do not have time and energy to protest.

Coal block allocation issue stalls Parliament for tenth day

As just three days remained for the Monsoon Session to conclude, there was little hope of normalcy returning with stalemate persisting in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in the wake of the CAG report

 
New Delhi: With the logjam over coal block allocations refusing to die down, Parliament was paralysed for the tenth day today as BJP remained unrelenting on its demand for resignation of prime minister Manmohan Singh, reports PTI.
 
As just three days remained for the Monsoon Session to conclude, there was little hope of normalcy returning with stalemate persisting in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in the wake of the CAG report.
 
Even as the Rajya Sabha continued to witness strong protest by the BJP over coal issue, the government managed to obtain Parliament’s nod to a key legislation seeking to create six AIIMS-like premier medical institutes across the country.
 
The passing of the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (Amendment) Bill, 2012, in the Rajya Sabha now paves the way for creation of six AIIMS-like institutes in Patna, Bhopal, Raipur, Bhubaneshwar, Jodhpur and Rishikesh. The Lok Sabha has already passed the Bill.
 
After three adjournments earlier in the day, when the Upper House met at 4 pm, health and family welfare minister Ghulam Nabi Azad hurriedly moved the Bill, which was passed by voice vote amid uproar.
 
As the BJP continued to raise slogans over coal issue, Kurien adjourned the House immediately after passage of the Bill.
 
Soon after the two Houses met for the day, they were adjourned till noon after opposition triggered ruckus on the issue. Members of the DMK AIADMK, CPI and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) were in the well raising the Sri Lanka issue.
 
DMK members were opposing the training of Sri Lankan armed forces at an airbase in India, while AIADMK and VCK members were protesting the planned visit of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Madhya Pradesh.
 
When the Lok Sabha reassembled at noon, the only work transacted was the passage of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, Bill 2012 without discussion by a voice vote amidst din.
 
While BJP members continued slogan-shouting in the well, PC Chacko, who was in the chair, ordered laying of papers.
 
After the papers were laid, minister of state for health S Gandhiselvan moved the NIMHANS Bill for consideration and passage. It was adopted by a voice vote amid thumping of desks by the members of the Treasury benches.
 
As soon as the Bill was passed, Mr Chacko adjourned the House for the day. 
 

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Finance ministry looking at relaxing investment norms for insurers

During their meeting with finance minister P Chidambaram, heads of the PSU insurers pitched for relaxation in investment norms to help the sector earn more premium income

 
New Delhi: The finance ministry is looking at the possibility of relaxing norms for insurance companies to attract more funds for the infrastructure sector as part of efforts to prop-up the sagging economy, reports PTI.
 
During their meeting with finance minister P Chidambaram, heads of the PSU insurers pitched for relaxation in investment norms to help the sector earn more premium income.
 
Talking to reporters after the meeting, financial services secretary DK Mittal told reporters that the issue of channelising their investment into productive sectors, particularly the infrastructure sector, was discussed.
 
“For that what changes are to be made in the regulations by the Government of India or by Income Tax Department ...everything has been looked at,” Mr Mittal said.
 
He, however said no decision was taken and another meeting would be held shortly.
 
“This meeting was not for taking decisions. It was basically for understanding, as a part of a series of meetings that the finance minister (P Chidambaram) is holding with different groups, key groups, what we can do to prop up the economy,” Mr Mittal added.
 
As per estimates, the investment corpus with the life insurance companies is around Rs13 lakh crore. Of this, only 20% currently goes towards the infrastructure sector.
 
As per the current Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) norms, insurance companies can invest only in highest rated ‘AAA’ or ‘AA’ credit-rated debt paper.
 
Life insurance companies are allowed to invest up to 50% in government securities, 15% in infrastructure bonds and 35% in other investment grade corporate bonds and equities.
 
“There is a need to revisit investment norms for insurance companies. Will look at revising investment regulations over the next month,” IRDA chairman J Hari Narayan said after the meeting.
 
The regulator is at present mulling options to allow sector companies to invest more in non-AAA rated securities, including ‘A+’ and ‘A’ papers of corporates.
 
 Last year, the Department of Industrial Policy had favoured allowing life insurance companies to invest in greater quantity in non-AAA rated debt instruments to encourage flow of funds to infrastructure projects.
 
India needs about a trillion dollar investment in the infra space during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17).
 

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