India Overpass Collapses, Killing at Least 24 People

MUMBAI—At least 24 people were killed and 80 others injured when an under-construction overpass collapsed in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, officials said.

We have recovered 18 dead bodies,” Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of the state of West Bengal, of which Kolkata is the capital, told reporters Thursday. At least 78 people were known to be trapped under the debris, while 16 more had been hospitalized, she added. Some 5,000 personnel were engaged in rescue work, Ms. Banerjee said.

Vehicles are trapped under the partially collapsed overpass, which was being built over a congested road in a northern part of Kolkata.

Vehicles are trapped under the partially collapsed overpass, which was being built over a congested road in a northern part of Kolkata.

The number of casualties could rise as officials try to lift a large metal truss that fell onto people and passing cars, a police official said. Some police personnel were also suspected to be trapped under the debris, an official at the Kolkata police control room said by telephone.

The overpass was being built in the city’s densely populated Bara Bazar neighborhood.

Maj. Gen. Anurag Gupta, an adviser for operations at India’s federal rescue agency, the National Disaster Management Authority, said five teams had reached the site. Rescue operations were continuing, with 63 people pulled from the debris, he said. The Indian Army is assisting, Gen. Gupta said.

Footage on local TV channels showed the bridge collapsing, with people and cars on the busy road beneath it disappearing beneath the rubble.

It is an act of God,” K. Panduranga Rao, head of human resources and administration at contractor IVRCL Ltd., the company that was building the overpass, told reporters. “We are shocked to know how this instance has happened.

India’s efforts to rapidly build critical infrastructure, including overpasses over existing, crowded roads, means construction is often undertaken without adequate precautions to isolate sites.

The overpass was being built by the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority, a government agency tasked with building infrastructure in the city, said Soumitra Bhattacharya, director general of Kolkata’s Roads Department, a separate government agency. The road underneath the overpass was always densely crowded, he said. He declined to comment on whether regulations were followed. Officials at the development authority weren’t immediately available for comment.

The project’s construction was checked by third-party consultants as well as the government commissioning agency, the KMDA, Mr. Rao said. Some 40 employees of the firm were working on the project at the time of collapse, and two were still missing, he said.

Late Thursday, Ms. Banerjee said Kolkata police had filed a complaint against IVRCL. The police also raided and sealed three company in the city offices but didn’t find any employees there. An inquiry has been set up under the state’s top bureaucrat to investigate the accident, Ms. Banerjee said.

IVRCL grieves the loss of precious lives and injuries to people and will cooperate with the authorities in investigating this accident,” the company said in a filing to local stock exchanges. In the filing, the company said it is awaiting details on the cause of the accident and it will do “its utmost to find the causes.”

The bridge construction was the toughest of all projects undertaken by the KMDA under a federal grants program, according to information about the project on the website of contractor IVRCL. The website of the engineering and construction company, based in the southern city of Hyderabad, said construction took place in a “very congested area” that hampered the movement of heavy equipment.

Shocked & saddened by collapse of under construction flyover in Kolkata. Took stock of the situation & rescue operations,” a tweet on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s account said.

Monumental tragedy. Rescue ops on. Many feared dead,” said a tweet from the verified account of local lawmaker Derek O’Brien, a member of Parliament for West Bengal.


Punj Lloyd providing cutting edge Design Engineering and Defence Electronics

Doing justice to its number 1 ranking in proving end-to-end services from concept to commissioning, Punj Lloyd has established a world class facility in collaboration with suitable partners to develop as well as deliver communication and network solutions and tactical communication networks.

Punj Lloyd providing cutting edge Design Engineering and Defence ElectronicsThe company has established Battlefield Management Systems, Surveillance systems, and Sighting Systems along with Radar, Avionics, Sensors and Ruggedised Electronic Equipment and Parts.

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Punj Lloyd provides end-to-end services and thus, has capabilities to provide services during all the stages of the product life-cycle starting from concept design, analysis and simulation, design and detailing, manufacturing, up to after sales support.

Punj Lloyd to expand defence facility: Atul Punj

NEW DELHI: Eyeing on defence sector demands, diversified group Punj Lloyd BSE -1.33 % is set to expand its Gwalior facility besides exploring other states like Karnataka and Rajasthan to set up manufacturing units.punj-lloyd-to-expand-defence-facility-atul-punj

“As the whole space opens up… we are expanding our Gwalior facility. We will be adding on new facilities in other states as well. Rajasthan, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh are the options,” Punj Lloyd Group Chairman Atul Punj said.

“As the whole space opens up… we are expanding our Gwalior facility. We will be adding on new facilities in other states as well. Rajasthan, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh are the options,” Punj Lloyd Group Chairman Atul Punj said.

The group is willing to make investments in this regard that could be in the range of up to Rs 2,000 crore depending on the opportunity, he said.
“The investment we will see as the opportunities we get. We have made our core investment in Malanpur, around that we will make only specific investments based on our winning some projects. We may invest in the range of Rs 200 to Rs 2,000 crore,” Punj added.

The company has its manufacturing and systems integration facility in Malanpur, near Gwalior, on 65 acres of land which is said to be one of the largest facilities of its kind by private firm in the Indian defence sector.

The facility is used for machining, welding and fabrication of precision engineered components assembly, integration and testing of weapons and maintenance and repair facility for existing weapons with the Indian Army.

“We are focusing on aerodynamics space as the opportunities open up as the tenders come out as we see that there is opportunities, based on that we will only take a call,” Punj said.

It has recently been shortlisted by the Defence Ministry for upgrading the Zu 23 air defence gun.

The group has agreements with leading global primes for collaboration in Indian programmes for a wide range of products including artillery systems, air defence gun systems, A-vehicle technology, assault rifles and carbines.

Its current orderbook stands at Rs 20,978 crore.

On widening of its net loss, Punj said, “Net declined essentially because we went through corrective action plan with banks …that got delayed for various reasons.”

The company has seen widening of its net loss to Rs 597.84 crore during the April-June quarter on sharp decline in income. It had reported a net loss of Rs 363.92 crore for the first quarter of the previous fiscal.
Punj, however, said that based on the corrective measures things would be rectified soon.

Punj Lloyd Group offers EPC services in energy and infrastructure along with engineering and manufacturing capabilities in the defence sector.

The shares of the company today closed at Rs 25.35 a share on BSE, down 1.36 per cent.