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Bridge collapses at games arena

NEW DELHI, September 21 – A footbridge under construction at the main stadium for the Delhi Commonwealth Games collapsed on Tuesday, injuring up to six labourers, an AFP reporter and police said.The structure, a steel arch supporting an approximately 50 metres (164 feet) footbridge, fell down just outside the main Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium which will host the opening ceremony and athletics when the showpiece event begins on October 3.

It was being built to link the parking lot with the stadium.

"A footbridge was under construction in the parking lot of the JN stadium. Five to six labourers have been injured and rushed to hospital," said Rajan Bhagat, a spokesman for Delhi police.

"There is no need to panic and the pictures on TV make it look much worse than it is," he added.

An AFP reporter at the scene said that police had sealed off the area. The elevated footbridge collapsed onto the car park tarmac below, while the steel supporting arch was still standing.

"The cementing of the foot bridge was being done in the morning," chief secretary of Delhi Rakesh Mehta told CNN-IBN television. "The engineers are looking into the cause of the accident."

Construction work for the games, expected to draw 7,000 athletes and officials to the Indian capital, has been severely delayed and doubts have been raised about the quality of the construction.

India’s chief anti-corruption body found a host of problems with construction work in a July investigation, including dubious contracts and the use of poor quality materials.

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The chief technical examiner from the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) inspected 15 sites around the national capital and found a number of irregularities and suspect practices by contractors and public bodies.

The collapse came as the Commonwealth Games Federation went public with complaints about the athletes’ village, which was described as "filthy," "uninhabitable" and "not fit for humans" by participants and officials.


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