Says it followed all quality standards, probe needed on causes; top management remains unavailable
Representatives of IVRCL, contractor for the Vivekananda Flyover project, a part of which collapsed in Kolkata on Thursday, killing at least 25 people, said only a thorough investigation would bring out the causes. They had, they said, followed all the standard protocols and used quality material in the construction.
“A local newspaper even ran a story linking the accident to a possible bomb-blast while citing an eye witnesses account who apparently saw some glass pieces in the accident spot. We absolutely do not know how the accident has happened, as there was no negligence or compromise on the part of the company,” P Sita, head of its legal department, told reporters at the company headquarters in Hyderabad on Friday.
Responding to questions that mostly targeted its comment on Thursday that the tragedy was an ‘act of God’, K Pandu Ranga Rao, head of its personnel and administration department, said he'd used the expression only to explain that the causes were beyond the control of anybody, including the company.
On the question of sub-contractors handling work at the site, Rao said it was the usual practice, with construction companies deploying a large number of subcontractors. The latter are so hired only after clearance by the company, based on quality and other relevant parameters.
There was a huge media presence in front of the company headquarters on Friday, as a four-member police team from Kolkata accompanied with local police had arrived and was questioning IVRCL officials.
Rao said none from the police had approached him or visited the office. Earlier in the day Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar said they have detained few officials of the company.
The Kolkata police have already booked cases against the company under various criminal sections. Top officials of the company, including chairman and managing director E Sudhir Reddy and joint managing director R Balram Reddy, were unavailable for comment.
Rao said the company had rushed technical and legal teams to Kolkata on Friday morning. “We are in shock and it takes time to put everything in place. There were no issues with the quality, as the same material was used to build 59 decks which remain perfect,” the legal head added.