Kolkata: At least five people have been killed on the spot, and many are trapped in the debris, when Majerhat bridge, located in South Kolkata collapsed on Tuesday afternoon.
This is for the third time that a bridge has collapsed in the state capital of West Bengal. The first bridge that had collapsed was the Ultadanga flyover in 2013, followed by Vivekananda Road flyover in 2016.
Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is in Darjeeling for an official tour, said, “We have just got the news about a section of Majerhat bridge has collapsed. We are monitoring the relief and rescue work from here. Respective officials including the Urban Development Minister and the Mayor along with officials of our disaster management team have been directed to offer prompt rescue and relief to those injured or killed during the mishap.”
She then quickly added, “Our primary concern at the moment is to rescue those who have been left trapped or killed during this tragedy and to provide relief to those affected. Of course an enquiry will be initiated to know what led to the collapse. But first thing first, which is the rescue and relief work.”
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However, the commuters, who have been using the bridge, are in no mood to be pacified. With the pictures and videos of the mishap going viral, people took on the social media to vent out.
“Repeated confirmation on WhatsApp about the now fallen Majerhat bridge is saddening. It served us well and if it hadn’t been for the metro construction closeby, I have a feeling it wouldn’t have fallen,” wrote Gautam Arora, of DP Electronics, Kolkata, on his Facebook wall.
While, Saheli Mitra blamed the use of second grade materials to build the 40-year-old bridge, built by the Port Trust. She wrote, “This is the bridge that we use atleast 5 times a day…was wondering how long shall we tolerate the political party-contractor nexus, where second grade materials are used to build the bridge, zero maintenance, and the metro coming up by cutting trees after trees.”
Senior PRO, Sanjoy Mukherjee, of Kolkata Port Trust, refrained from taking the repeated calls made to him and sent a curt message, stating that he would be calling back to speak on the issue. Later, he shared a press statement stating that the KoPT didn’t have any official records of Kolkata Port having built the bridge. The statement read, “Kolkata Port is deeply concerned about the mishap and the loss of life. Our security team of PSO and 50 CISF personnel of KoPT have been already deployed. KoPT does not have any records of Majerhat Bridge being built by Kolkata Port.”
Meanwhile, according to eyewitnesses present on the spot, a number of bikes have been seen trapped under the bridge, which both the official rescue operation team along with the locals who had rushed to the spot minutes after the bridge collapsed, are trying to rescue.
The bridge collapse has led to the temporary suspension of train movement through Majerhat as a precaution. A signal post of the Majerhat railway station has also been damaged by the debris of the collapsed bridge.
(This story has been updated after the KoPT issued its official statement)