BHUBANESWAR: A day after roof of the under-construction `56-crore Link Building at Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) came crashing down, two senior officers of Airport Authority of India (AAI) and Managing Director of the firm which was awarded contract for construction were arrested on Saturday. The site engineer of the construction firm was also taken into custody by the Commissionerate Police which booked all the four under Sections 304 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code.
Earlier in the day, Dilip Khatei, MD of Dilip Constructions Pvt Ltd which was awarded the work in 2018 was taken into custody for questioning. The AAI officers include Joint General Manager Goutam Ray and Assistant General Manager Asish Sarkar. The mishap claimed life of the helper of a construction vehicle while the driver suffered serious injuries.
The incident occurred at about 11.10 pm Friday night when the roof of the building was being cast. Director of BPIA VV Rao said the AAI will constitute a committee to inquire into the collapse of the link building roof. “All the labourers had left when a part of the concrete slab caved in. However, one person got trapped and another managed to escape.
AAI will form a committee and its members will arrive here soon to investigate the matter,” he added. The AAI had approved plan of the link building and the tender process was initiated in 2018. The project is being carried out at a cost of about `56 crore and the deadline of the construction is October.
Airport collapse: Four handcuffed
However, so far, construction work of only `3 crore has been completed. Cost of the slab which collapsed has been estimated at `20 lakh.Preliminary investigation revealed that scaffolding used for casting of the roof was faulty. Both iron and wooden planks were used which led to weakening of joints of the centering and shuttering structures.
While the construction firm was expected to stick to the engineering standards, the site engineer and the two AAI officers apparently overlooked to the flawed scaffolding which led to the mishap and ended in the tragedy.In fact, Khatei’s construction firm is believed to have bagged several high-value civil work projects of the Odisha Government in Bhubaneswar as well as Puri. Police were carrying out a background check too.
Bibhuti Biswal, a contractor at the spot, said faulty centring and slab laying work might be the reason behind the roof caving in as the pillar has remained in tact. “As distance between two pillars in the structure was around 20 feet, proper centring should have been carried out and beam strength increased to ensure that the structure doesn’t remain unstable.
The roof caved in since the beams couldn’t sustain the load of concrete capping,” he added.The incident also led to a bickering between ruling Biju Janata Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party with both pointing fingers at each other. In the past, the City had witnessed the Bomikhal Flyover crumbling at least twice. It was being built by Works Department of the State Government.