The police have registered an FIR over yesterday's flyover collapse against officials of the Uttar Pradesh State Bridge Corporation Ltd, a government-run entity that has faced criticism also in the past over the standard of its work.
Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya has already left for the spot. He also announced Rs 5 lakh and Rs 2 lakh compensation for the dead and the critically injured respectively.
An under construction flyover near the Cantonment railway station here collapsed killing 18 people and trapping around 50 people under the debris. The post and names of the suspended officials are chief project manager HC Tiwari, project manager K.R Sudan, and assistant Engineer Rajesh Singh and engineer Lal Chand.
An NDRF official said at least three people were rescued.
A few cars and a bus ferrying passengers were also trapped under the debris.
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The team exhumed bodies and gathered more than 100 environmental samples now being analysed in different OPCW-designated labs. The team's conclusions were based on finding two cylinders "which were determined as previously containing chlorine".
Most of the people killed were travelling in vehicles, senior police officer PV Ramasastry said.By nightfall, rescuers had pulled three people alive from the rubble, according to a statement from the National Disaster Response Force. "At least four cars, an auto-rickshaw and a minibus were crushed under it", they said.
UP CM Adityanath reached the scene within a few hours and met the injured in the city's Kabir Chaura hospital.
Modi, the MP from Varanasi, put out the tweet: "Extremely saddened by the loss of lives due to the collapse of an under-construction flyover in Varanasi. The UP Government is monitoring the situation very closely and is working on the ground to assist the affected", the Prime Minister said.
Mittal expressed sympathy with the family members of those killed and said all the employees of the corporation have made a decision to donate a day's salary to the chief minister's relief fund. The committee will be headed by Agriculture Production Commissioner (APC) Raj Pratap Singh.