5 killed as portion of bridge collapses in Kolkata

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 05 Sep 2018 08:20:23

Vehicles are seen stuck after a section of Majherhat bridge collapsed in Kolkata, on Tuesday




Bridge at Taratala is under PWD supervision and it’s alleged that it has not undergone any maintenance since long

IN A shocking incident, at least five people were killed and scores injured, some of them seriously, and several trapped when portion of Majherhat bridge at Taratala collapsed at around 4.45 pm on Tuesday. The accident happened within two years of Vivekananda Setu collapse at Vivekananda Road in which 27 people lost their lives.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, right now at Darjeeling in North Bengal, has decided to rush back to Kolkata. But since there is no flight for the day  from Bagdogra Airport, she is coming back to the city on Wednesday morning. Banerjee, however, is monitoring the situation from the hills. Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi has also reached the spot to supervise the rescue operation. The injured have been admitted to SSKM and CMRI Hospitals.

The bridge is under PWD supervision and it’s alleged that the bridge has not undergone any maintenance since long.
Police Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, Director General of Police Surajit Purkayastha and several Bengal Ministers, including Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim, have also been monitoring the rescue operation.

Sources said there was a shanty underneath housing some labourers working for the ongoing Metro Project and the rescue team has been sparing no pains to evacuate them.
Some vehicles, including a minibus, and several motorcycles, which were plying on the bridge at the time of collapse, fell down on a canal underneath.

The portion measuring around 200 to 250 ft collapsed and several vehicles have also got mangled. Army, Police and NDRF team along with locals have been carrying on rescue operation on war-footing. Cranes from Fire Brigade have been pressed into service and at least 25 people evacuated so far. With evening descending and rain once again pouring, rescue operation is somewhat being affected due to inadequate light.

Train services on the Sealdah-Budge Budge section and Circular Rail have stopped and road link between Ekbalpore and Behala completely snapped following the incident.
Transport services connecting the vast areas in the south-western part of the city and South 24 Parganas district were severely affected owing to collapse of a portion of a road over bridge at Majherhat on the arterial Diamond Harbour Road on Tuesday. A Kolkata Traffic Police officer said traffic movement through Diamond Harbour Road in Taratala area has been suspended following the incident.

Mamata Banerjee also announced a compensation of Rs five lakh to the family of the dead and Rs 50,00 each to the injured. Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed the incident as “deeply unfortunate” and hoped for the speedy recovery of the injured. Governor K N Tripathi, who visited the site, described it as “a big disaster”.

The 450 metre-long bridge was built in early sixties and maintained by PWD, a member of mayor-in-council in the city municipal corporation said. Some locals said the collapse might have been due to the construction of metro railway pillars nearby but this was not immediately confirmed by the experts. Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim said the Government would undertake technical inquiry after the rescue work is over.  NDRF DG Sanjay Kumar said earthmovers are being used for clearing the area. Five teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been sent for rescuing operations.

While four teams of the NDRF comprising about 180 personnel have already reached the spot, another team comprising about 45 rescuers is on its way, Home Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted. He described the incident as extremely tragic and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured.  The Home Minister also spoke to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who apprised him about the ground situation. He assured Banerjee of more help from the Centre if needed.