Nightmare in Kolkata as bridge collapses

Helpline numbers for queries related to the mishap are 1070, 033-22143526/ 033-22535185/ 033-22145664 Fax: 033-22141378

GN Bureau | March 31, 2016


#TMC   #Mamata Banerjee   #Bridge Collapse   #Bridge   #Kolkata  

Photo: A video grab of the site

West Bengal is becoming a dangerous state to live in. If one can escape death from sexual assault and/or political skirmish, the bridge might still fall on your head. The infrastructure which is supposed to aid people in their daily lives is now portending doom. A portion of an under construction gargantuan flyover in north Kolkata has collapsed. At least 17 people are confirmed dead, 70 injured and many are feared trapped under the debris.

The construction of the Vivekananda flyover was initiated in 2007 by then Left Front government to ease traffic and pedestrian movement in the Burrabazar business hub. The Rs 164 crore Kolkata metropolitan development authority (KMDA) project had been awarded to a Hyderabad based contractor. The employees of the contruction company have fled the spot.

The KMDA which has the mandate for city development is under the ministry of municipal affairs and urban development of the West Bengal government. Firhad Hakim, the minister who heads both the ministry was one of the accused in the recently released TV news sting in which, he along with other ministers, were seen accepting bribe from undercover journalists. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had denied the claims and called the tapes fake.

The flyover was being built in a highly congested area lined with decrepit buildings. People had raised objections to the inadequate space between the flyover and adjacent buildings.The bridge had been under construction for five years and was nearing completion.

The poll bound state (election beginning from April 02) had immediately announced Rs 5 lakh compensation for dead, Rs 2 lakh for seriously injured, Rs 1 lakh for those with minor injuries. Things are clearly not going well for the Trinamool Congress. Mayor Sovan Chatterjee was heckled when he visited the site. Jittered by the scale of the tragedy, Mamata Banerjee has cancelled election campaign in West Medinipur and has rushed back to Kolkata.

In the wee hours of March 3, 2013, a portion of another flyover had collapsed in Kolkata injuring three people. That flyover was built during the CPI(M) regime and political blame game continued in the aftermath of the collapse.

Meanwhile the NDRF and the Indian army have been called in for the rescue operations. Helpline numbers for queries related to the mishap are 1070, 033-22143526/ 033-22535185/ 033-22145664 Fax: 033-22141378

 

Surjya Kanta Mishra, leader of the opposition in the legislative assembly took to twitter to appeal for calm and urged people to focus on rescue operations

Meanwhile, the centre has pledged full cooperation in the rescue operations.

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