KOLKATA: Two years after the under-construction Vivekananda flyover collapse claimed 27 lives in north Kolkata, at least one person died and six were critically injured after a portion of the 40-year-old Majerhat rail overbridge in south Kolkata collapsed around 4.43 pm on Tuesday. Also, six Metro Rail workers are feared trapped under the debris. Rescue operations were on at the time of going to Press.
The deceased has been identified as Soumen Bag (28), a resident of Behala in south Kolkata, who sustained head injuries. “He had gone to visit relatives when the incident happened. I saw the news and called him, but some other person picked up the phone and told me about my son’s death,” said Soumen’s father Pradip Bag.
While around 13 people were admitted to SSKM Hospital of which four are critical, 18 were admitted to CMRI Hospital, two of whom are critical.
The Metro Rail workers of the under-construction Esplanade-Joka phase lived in a makeshift room under the flyover and were seen resting there on Tuesday afternoon due to heavy rains.
One minibus, five cars and several two-wheelers were plying on the overbridge when it collapsed after heavy rains. The condition of the bridge was repeatedly shown by media outlets as very weak.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is currently in Darjeeling, promised to initiate a high-level inquiry.
ARMY, Navy and CISF teams were deployed to assist the NDRF, Fire Brigade and the Kolkata Police in the rescue operation.
“We dug two manholes into the debris and rescuers descended into them looking for survivors, but did not find anyone there. But there were bamboo structures of the Metro workers’ room. We will cut the structure and enter. If anyone is there, we hope they would be alive,” said Fire Brigade official DK Singh. The rescue operation is likely to continue late into the night. Sniffer dogs were used and the vehicles stranded on the broken bridge section were slowly salvaged by cranes.
Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee, municipal affairs minister Firhad Hakim and representatives of the CPM and BJP rushed to the spot. Locals began rescue operation even before the rescue teams arrived.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee promised to initiate a high-level inquiry into the incident. “We will conduct high-level inquiry into the incident and strict action will be taken against whoever is responsible for negligence. “Nobody will be spared,” she said. The chief minister will cut short her three-day visit to the hills and reach Kolkata on Wednesday.
Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi said: “The bridge deserved better maintenance. There was a pit in the bridge and the PWD and Railways should have noticed that and maintained the bridge. There should be a proper probe.”