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Delhi airport roof collapses after inauguration by Modi

Roof collapse at New Delhi airport kills one person amid heavy rains, months after refurbishment project inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi.

In the early hours of Friday, the roof of a terminal building at New Delhi's international airport partially collapsed due to heavy rains, resulting in the tragic death of one individual. This incident occurred just months after a refurbishment project that was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Images circulating online depicted vehicles crushed under massive steel girders at the departure forecourt of Terminal 1, one of the many projects celebrated by Modi in March leading up to the recent general election.

The airport authorities released a statement attributing the collapse to the heavy rain that had been ongoing since the early morning hours. As a result, departures from the terminal were cancelled until early afternoon, with later flights being redirected to other terminals that were operating as usual. Under Modi's leadership, infrastructure spending has been a key focus, with the Delhi airport, named after the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, being a flagship project.

The opposition Congress party criticized Modi, suggesting that the terminal was rushed to completion for inauguration ahead of the elections, leading to the unfortunate accident. Despite initial predictions and exit polls, Congress managed to prevent Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from securing a majority in the parliamentary elections, resulting in a coalition government. The Delhi airport is managed by a consortium led by Indian firm GMR, a major player in the private airport operations sector.

Reports have surfaced indicating that the GMR consortium has made significant contributions to an electoral trust that subsequently donated substantial amounts to both the BJP and Congress, albeit to a lesser extent. Senior Congress member Priyanka Gandhi took to social media to question the accountability of the Chief Inauguration Minister for the subpar construction work and alleged corruption involved in the project.

During a press briefing at the airport, civil aviation minister Ram Mohan Naidu Kinjarapu clarified that the collapsed roof was not part of the building inaugurated by Modi, but rather a separate structure that had been in operation since 2009. The rescue operations have been successfully completed, with eight individuals sustaining injuries and one fatality confirmed. Atul Garg, the director of Delhi Fire Services, provided updates to AFP on the rescue efforts.

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