Each measuring 2.5 to 3 feet, Dev Singhal had one iron rod nearly grazing an eyeball and three stopping millimetres from his face and chest. Another got through the windshield fully, but was fortunately a few inches away, landing near the gearshift.
The five rods had come loose from the Bhangel elevated road, which is under construction, just as Singhal was passing by in his Swift, becoming lethal projectiles that peppered his car. Singhal, a trader, filed a police complaint, accusing the Noida Authority and its contractor of negligence.
Singhal was returning from Bhangel after purchasing some goods for his hardware store near Sector 101 metro station when death suddenly looked him in the eye. It happened in a fraction of a second, near Pillar No. 71 of the elevated road.
“I was saved by a whisker. I am unscathed, but haven’t recovered from the shock,” Dev told TOI.
His father Devendra accused Noida Authority and the contractor of negligence. “Why were no safety nets installed on the elevated road to prevent debris or materials from falling? Today my son had a lucky escape, but tomorrow, someone may get injured,” he said. Devendra also accused the contractor of using poor construction material to complete the project that has missed several deadlines already.
A senior police officer at Sector 39 station, where the complaint was submitted, said they were investigating if there was any negligence, and an FIR will be filed thereafter.
The project’s contractor is UP State Bridge Corporation Ltd. Shripal Bhati, deputy GM (civil) of the Noida Authority said a fine of Rs 5 lakh had been imposed on the contractor for “negligence”. “Currently, no construction work is happening at the project site because of financial issues,” he said. The rods appeared to have come loose from the flyover’s incomplete railings.
The Rs 467-crore Bhangel elevated road project was initially slated to be finished by December 2022 but has been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. The delay in completing the 5.5-km-long road is causing inconvenience to commuters and residents living along the Dadri road, which is dug up from the Sector 49/48 intersection to Sector 82 T-point.