Tragedy strikes as 17 lose their lives when a grinder machine collapses on Samruddhi Expressway in Maharashtra’s Thane.

Tragedy struck on the early hours of August 1 as at least 17 lives were lost, including five site engineers and 12 workers, when a girder machine collapsed during the construction of the third phase of the Samruddhi Expressway in Maharashtra’s Thane district.

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The heart-wrenching incident occurred at around 1 a.m. in Khutadi Sarlambe village, Shahapur thesil, leaving three others injured. They were quickly taken to a nearby hospital for immediate medical attention, while the deceased bodies were shifted to Shahapur government hospital for postmortem.

The region’s political leader, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, whose constituency is Kopri-Pachpakhadi in Thane district, expressed deep concern and visited the spot with Minister Dadaji Bhuse to assess the situation. They feared that more individuals might be trapped under the debris.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), along with fire brigade personnel, police, and locals, joined forces in search and rescue operations. Sadly, the death toll was expected to rise as NDRF officials suspected that more people could be trapped beneath the debris.

The gantry crane, a crucial component in bridge construction and installing precast box grinders for highways and other mega projects, was involved in the tragic incident.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was scheduled to receive the Lokmanya Tilak National award in Pune on the same day, offered his condolences and announced a compensation of ₹2 lakh each to the families of the deceased, with ₹50,000 for the injured.

The Samruddhi Mahamarg, spanning 701 km and connecting Mumbai and Nagpur, is a significant expressway project in Maharashtra, conceived by Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The super communication expressway has already reduced travel time between Nagpur and Mumbai by 10 hours.

However, despite its importance, the expressway has witnessed a series of tragic accidents, with 88 lives lost in road accidents in the last six months alone, including 25 fatalities from a private bus catching fire after hitting a divider.

The construction, undertaken by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation, aims to make the entire stretch of 701 km fully operational by the end of the year, bringing greater connectivity and economic benefits to the region.

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