Miraculous escape for two workers; cause of accident unknown
The shed of a petrol bunk adjacent to the LIC building on Anna Salai collapsed here on Friday while it was being dismantled to give way for the ongoing Metro Rail construction work. O. Rajendran and S. Balamurugan, migrant workers from Dharmapuri, engaged in the dismantling, had a miraculous escape. The accident occurred around 6 p.m. at the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) outlet.
“We began work this morning and were proceeding with [dismantling] the shed. Suddenly, in the evening, it collapsed. We quickly ran towards the road. We were lucky to escape unhurt,” said Balamurugan.
Metro Rail workers sporting safety gear soon gathered at the accident spot. An employee of Gammon [contractor for the LIC site] who was standing nearby intervened to say: “This accident has nothing to do with the Metro Rail work.”
The cause of the accident is yet to be established. According to a senior official of BPCL, the petrol station was closed a couple of months ago. “Metro Rail wanted that portion of land and the dealer had to clear the station,” he said. On Friday’s accident, he said: “It was an accident and we do not know what caused it.” Officials of the Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) were not reachable for comment. All the same, if the two workers escaped unhurt on Friday, it was only because luck favoured them.
It was only a few weeks ago that the controversy over a crack observed on the 11 floor of the LIC building ended with structural engineering experts from IIT-Madras ruling out Metro Rail construction work as the cause. However, the professors who studied the cracks and submitted a report had also cautioned CMRL to take adequate safety precautions by carrying out certain tests.
At present, the diaphragm wall is being built at the site of the underground station near the LIC building.