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Footbridge collapses near Delhi stadium

Neha Alawadhi

27 workers injured; experts' team to probe cause; rain or negligence ruled out

PHOTO: R.V. MOORTHY

Jolt to the games: With the Commonwealth Games round the corner, problems seem to abound for the authorities. A footbridge under construction collapsed near the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Tuesday. But Union Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy called it a small problem.

NEW DELHI: In a huge setback to the organisers of the Commonwealth Games, a footbridge under construction near the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, main venue of the Games, collapsed on Tuesday, injuring 27 labourers.

The bridge, which collapsed around 3.15 p.m., was meant to link the parking lot for the spectators. The structure was to be supported by clips (pins) attached at the end of the suspenders dangling from an arch.

“There was a slip in one of the clips, and the structure fell while concrete was being poured into one of the decks,” said Delhi PWD Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan.

A team of experts, led by H.S. Dogra, Director-General (retired), CPWD, and IIT-Delhi Professor A. Gupta, has been constituted by the Delhi government to “look into the cause of failure and suggest remedial measures.” It will submit its report within a fortnight. PWD Engineer-in-Chief Rakesh Mishra ruled out rain or negligence as possible causes.

Of the 27 injured, four have been admitted to the Safdarjung Hospital and 23 treated at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences. Five of them are said to be in a serious condition. The Delhi government has slapped a black-listing notice on the contractor.

Manmohan briefed

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was briefed by Cabinet Secretary K. M. Chandrashekhar of the decisions taken to rectify the situation in view of the allegations made by foreign participants about lack of proper facilities at the Games Village.

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