Overbridge collapses in south Kolkata. Several feared trapped
One worker died and nine persons were injured after a section of the Majerhat overbridge in south Kolkata collapsed Tuesday evening. The number of people affected could increase as government sources feared several were trapped underneath debris. Rescue operations were on until late night.
“Ten people have been rescued until now. They have been admitted at a private hospital while nine others were admitted at the SSKM Hospital with severe injuries,” a senior police officer said. One was declared 'brought-dead' by the hospital.
“Our main priority is to conduct the rescue operation properly,” Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said. Banerjee, who was in the Darjeeling hills, said she would reach Capital Kolkata Wednesday morning and visit the accident site.
A high-powered committee led by Chief Secretary Moloy De will probe into the cause of the collapse and those found guilty would be punished, she added. Videographic and forensic evidence were being collected.
According to her, the state audits bridges every six months to know know whether renovation is required.
Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi visited the area. “Both the Railways and the Public Works Department were responsible for the maintenance of the bridge, I have heard. A thorough probe should be made into this,” he said.
Minister for Urban Development Firhad Hakim said he was not sure about who was resposible for the bridge's maintenance.
Eyewitnesses said around 4.45 pm, a huge segment of the bridge came crashing down. “I was coming from my school. Suddenly I saw that a portion of the bridge collapsed. Some nine vehicles, including a minibus and several two-wheelers, remained underneath,” Sudeshna Ray, an eyewitness, said.
Local railway services were affected as the bridge crossed a set of tracks. Traffic movement to and from Behala suburbs and South 24 Parganas district were hit.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted to say the incident was “deeply unfortunate” and hoped for the speedy recovery of the injured.
Banerjee announced compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for those injured in the collapse of the 40-year-old bridge.