FIVE people were killed and 20 injured yesterday after the collapse of an elevated trackbed that was under construction for the extension of Delhi Metro to the Indian capital’s international airport.
Subsequently, three cranes collapsed while trying to lift a collapsed steel girder weighing 300 tonnes.
Joint Commissioner of Police Ajay Kashyap told reporters that four cranes were trying to lift the girder when one of them malfunctioned. The other three cranes couldn’t handle the weight and buckled, he said.
The collapse occurred on a route section under construction by Gammon India Ltd., whose share price fell 19 per cent when trading began after the weekend.
“The government has set up a four-member committee which will submit its findings in 10 days,” said a Gammon Group spokesman. “We continue to remain the contractors for the project.”
Earlier this year the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) said it was using extra-long girders to build the elevated stretch on the new line to the Delhi airport (writes Alan Marshall, who visited New Delhi earlier this year).
DMRC said 25 metre-long girders were being adopted to speed up completion of the project ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
The new Airport Express Line of the Delhi Metro is 22.7 km (14 miles) long, of which a distance of seven kilometers (4.4 miles) is elevated using 504 of the extra-long girders.
“Such girders, which are 25 metres long and weigh approximately 120 tonnes each, have been earlier used only in Shanghai and Taipei and are being used for the first time in India,” said O.P. Singh, chief project manager for the line.
“These girders are being used on the Airport Express Line to expedite the construction process. The line is to be opened by October 2010,” explained Anuj Dayal, chief public relations officer of the DMRC.
The Airport Express Line is expected to revolutionize transport in India’s capital city as a trip from the New Delhi railway station to the Indira Gandhi International Airport will take only 18 to 20 minutes.
“The maximum speed on this line will be 135 km/hour (84 mph) as opposed to current 80 km/h (50 mph),” chief project manager Singh said.
For this the thickness of the girders had been increased and reinforcement heightened, he added.