The tragic flyover collapse in Kolkata on Thursday that left more than 27 people dead and many injured has raised several serious questions regarding the safety and stability of flyovers in Delhi which is fast turning into a city of flyovers.
With the burgeoning population and rapidly increasing vehicles in the city, flyovers have become a necessity to make traffic signal free but ensuring quality construction is a crucial factor.
According to Prof PK Sarkar of School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), to begin with any such project, fair bidding and tendering process has to be done.
"Such a process is missing in Kolkata. But the case is not the same in Delhi where the authorities go through a fair process. This was not the first time it happened in Kolkata. A year back Dum Dum bridge also collapsed but the government failed to learn from past mistakes," said Prof Sarkar.
A senior Delhi government official said, "The company which had constructed the flyover in Kolkata was blacklisted but even then they were allowed to construct it as they have a monopoly. Freedom for bidding should be there and in Delhi we strictly follow that principle. Also we repair old flyovers and those in a poor condition from time to time".
Another expert, KK Kapila, chairman, International Road Federation (IRF), said though there are no structural problems in any of the flyovers in the Capital, road safety should be an important aspect.
"From illumination, proper signagls, adequate lightning of signages in nights should be done. In Kolkata, poor construction was the problem. Besides, a periodic check of all flyovers from the angle of structural safety should be done which will now begin after the intervention of Central government. This is also prescribed in Indian Roads Congress (IRC) standards," said Kapila.
In 1982, when Delhi hosted the Asian Games, it had just five flyovers. At present, Delhi has more than 90 flyovers. In 2013, it was proposed that all old flyovers which were more than a decade old be inspected and measures taken to repair them with the advice of expert consultants.
The Centre on Friday ordered a ‘safety’ review of all ongoing highway and bridge projects under NHAI and road ministry.