One person died and at least 25 were severely injured when a portion of the Majerhat bridge in south Kolkata collapsed on Tuesday. The rescue operations had been ongoing since last night and are supposed to continue for the better part of today to find out the exact number of people affected by the collapse. The Majerhat bridge was a 50 year old bridge located right next to the Majerhat railway station which made it a busy road. The bridge whose maintenance comes under the state public works department (PWD) connected the city to the areas located to the south, Behala and Kidderpore, two prominent areas which are also connected by this bridge. It is shocking how in a short span of six years there have been three incidents of bridge collapse in Kolkata alone, rampant corruption and loot in the construction works seems to be going on in the state of West Bengal. Playing with citizens life which was a political tool for the Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool Congress (TMC) government in the state seems to have become their favorite pastime.
Five teams of National Disaster Response Force with around 200 personnel were present at the scene of the collapse carrying out relief and rescue work. The injured people were taken to the SSKM Hospital and CMRI Hospital. The Majerhat Bridge needed rebuilding and maintenance for a stretch of approximately 35 metres according to the PWD officials of Kolkata. The PWD had submitted a report long back in 2015 regarding the immediate need to carry out the same and had even submitted tenders in this regard multiple times. Mamata Banerjee’s state government and its officials had however turned down the proposal every time it reached the Finance government. Bharatiya Janata Party MP Roopa Ganguly visited the Majerhat Bridge and pointed out the negligence of the Mamata Banerjee government regarding the repair and maintenance work of the bridge which had been far from adequate to say the least. Ganguly said,”The negligence of West Bengal government is unpardonable. The repair was a complete eyewash with only white and blue paint and spraying some bitumen layers”. Corruption and negligence from Mamata Banerjee led state government have indeed increased the woes of the people of the state, Mamata meanwhile was in Darjeeling on a three day visit. She is also supposed to meet members of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration which is infuriated with the earlier actions of the WB CM.
The Majerhat Bridge collapse is third of its kind in a short span of six years. The first incident happened in 2013 when a 60 metres curved stretch of the Ultadanga flyover collapsed. Thankfully, the stretch which connected VIP road to EM Bypass collapsed early in the morning at 4:30 am and resulted in negligible amount of casualties or injuries. The flyover had been commissioned in 2011, just two years ago by the Communist government in the state. The Vivekananda Bridge collapse however surpassed many natural disasters in the number of casualties and injured. The collapse of the under construction Vivekananda flyover was a tragedy which occurred in central Kolkata’s busy Burrabazar area, killing 26 people and left nearly 90 people severely injured. Poor quality of design, materials and workmanship were cited as the flaws by a team from IIT-Kharagpur which had come to ascertain the reasons for the collapse between Ganesh Talkies and Girish Park. Ten employees of IVRCL which was the construction company were removed as a cover-up but no high ranking official was removed or questioned in both the incidents. Mamata Banerjee has failed to act on the rampant corruption in the state and has even added to it by giving a free hand to the TMC leaders and workers to profit from every project in the state. A high level investigation is needed to work out how deep the channels of corruption run in TMC and WB which is leeching the state bit by bit and is taking lives of the innocent people of the state.