At least 18 people are believed to have been killed after an under construction bridge in north Kolkata collapsed on Thursday.
The bridge collapsed near Kolkata’s famous Ganesh Talkies.
Eye-witnesses said that over 150 people were trapped under the bridge.
An ANI reporter present at the spot said, “scores of dead bodies under debris, many trapped.”
OP Singh, DG NDRF said, “We don’t have the death toll or info on how many are injured. 100 mts of the bridge has collapsed. Our priority is that those who are alive under the debris should be rescued. All kinds of cutters are being sued to make an entry. More teams are being mobilised for accident spot in Kolkata, two teams have already reached there.”
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was on the campaign trail immediately rushed back to the spot.
Quoting police, PTI reported that 18 persons died in the mishap in the Burrabazar area, which houses the city’s largest wholesale market, while several others were injured.
The injured were rushed to the hospitals in the vicinity. Two policemen and one Jorabagan traffic sergeant Sandip Haldar were critically injured.
State administration officials said 62 people were injured and taken to hospitals, while several others were feared trapped under the debris.
“It is nothing but God’s act,” claimed Panduranga Rao of the Hyderabad-based IVRCL Construction company engaged in the flyover’s construction.
The police sealed the local office of the IVRCL and registered a case against the company under section 304,308 and 407 of the IPC.
Chief Secretary Basudeb Banerjee said that a high level inquiry has been ordered into the flyover collapse.
A number of vehicles were crushed under the concrete and steel debris.
CCTV footage showed people, cars, autorickshaws and hawkers buried under the collapsed structure, while some trying to flee the spot were also trapped.
The footage also caught a bloodied hand from under a girder gesturing for help as people handed over water bottles to survivors trapped underneath.
Five columns of Army personnel (about 300 in number) along with NDRF, state disaster management, city police and fire brigade personnel joined in the rescue operations.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who visited the spot cutting short her election campaign, said, “Stringent action will be taken against officials of the construction
Earlier TMC’s spokesperson, Derek O’Brien said, “Monumental tragedy. Rescue ops on. Many feared dead. Chief Sec/Home Sec at site. CM headed back to Kol immediately.This is the update I have.”
Monumental tragedy. Rescue ops on.Many feared dead. Chief Sec/Home Sec at site. CM headed back to Kol immediately.This is the update I have
— Derek O'Brien (@quizderek) March 31, 2016
WATCH: Rescue ops underway for those trapped under debris after under-construction bridge collapses in North Kolkatahttps://t.co/t96fZB3Qpr
— ANI (@ANI_news) March 31, 2016
One eye witness said, “People here are very scared, women and children are crying because of fear. ‘It was a powerful collapse,sent shivers down my spine.”
Two units of NDRF being rushed to Ganesh Talkies area of North Kolkata to assist in rescue work.
The army, police and the ambulance reached the accident spot to evacuate the victims.
The police were making desperate attempts to lift up the fallen bridge.
Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, said, “Deeply saddened to know that precious lives have been lost in the Kolkata accident. My heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased. Spoke to DG NDRF who apprised me of the situation at the accident site in Kolkata. NDRF teams have been rushed to the spot for rescue ops.”
The collapsed Vivekananda Road flyover, reports Indian Express, is a Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) project which was nearing completion. It is a Rs 164-crore project which the Left front government had initiated in 2007 to facilitate the movement of traffic as well as pedestrians in this busy and clogged stretch of the central business district in Burrabazar-Posta. The completion of the bridge was expected to ease the congestion of vehicular traffic as well as men moving from north and east Kolkata to Howrah.
It was learnt that right from inception, locals objected to its design as some stretches of the flyover crossed menacingly close to multi storied buildings,flanking on both sides of the existing road stretch. State government sources said that there was considerable pressure from the state urban development department to ensure speedy completion of the project.