A section of the 50 year old Majerhat bridge on the arterial Diamond Harbour Road in South Kolkata collapsed on 4th September, Tuesday evening. The Majerhat flyover is the connecting link between Behala and South 24 Parganas on one side and the rest of Kolkata on the other side. This unfortunate collapse mishap has killed one, injured several and crashed many vehicles. Had the collapse occur barely an hour later, the number of casualties could have been higher, when the bridge would have been chock a block with vehicles carrying office returnees along Diamond Harbour Road.
Police confirmed the death of one person and stated that 19 people were injured including two women. The injured people were carried to the SSKM and CMRI hospitals. Two among the injured admitted to hospitals were critical. A few motorcycles, four cars and a few motorbikes were hit by the collapse. “There were darkness around and a lot of dust. Trapped cars, bikes and a minibus came into view as the dust settled doen gradually” said Sumanji Jha, a cabbie who was headed northwards to Mominpur from Taratala. The portion of the bridge that collapsed on Tuesday fell within the state public works department’s jurisdiction [the portion of the bridge spanning the railway tracks would be the railways’ responsibility]. A series of trains were cancelled on Kolakata circular railway loop line. All the traffic on the diamond harbour road were stopped by the police immediately after the collapse. The collapse impact greatly felt on the entire South Kolkata traffic.
The Mahadevtala slum dwellers were the first respondents to this flyover collapse incident. They helped the injured bikers as well as pulled the commuters out of the bus. Within 30 minutes the Kolkata Police and the Fire Brigade teams reached the spot and started carrying the injured to the hospitals. Moreover a National Disaster Relief Force team, stationed on VIP road joined the rescue operations. However, the intermittent rain and onset of dusk disturbed the rescue works. Additional lighting arrangements were facilitated to carry on the rescue operation at night. The workers of Fire Brigade had pulled out 25 injured from the rubble.
CM Mamata Banerjee, who is now in Darjeeling said “We are very worried. Our priorities are relief and rescue. CM Mamata Banerjee has set up a probe team headed by the chief secretary Malay De. Malay De has sought a report from Arnab Roy, PWD secretary .She has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the next of kin of the dead and Rs 50 thousand for each of those injuged.
Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, who visited the site, stayed within gubernatorial proprieties but asked all agencies “responsible for maintaining bridges o do a thorough examination of all bridges and take corrective measures.” “The bridge deserves better maintenance. There was a report on a pit here for quite sometime. I don’t know whether the PWD noted it. The matter requires investigation,” he added.
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