As rescue and search operation continue at the site of the collapsed bridge in Kolkata, the political blame game began with leaders accusing each other of the incident.
The incident took place on Tuesday afternoon killing at least one person and injuring over 24 others after a part of a 40-year-old bridge collapsed in Majerhat area of Kolkata in West Bengal. The injured people have been shifted to three hospitals -- SSKM hospital , CMRI hospital and Vidyasagar hospital in Kolkata.
The Opposition leaders who visited the spot on Tuesday night questioned the maintenance of the by the West Bengal government and the BJP demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
After visiting the spot, BJP leader Rahul Sinha said, "This is an absolute failure of the government's maintenance. Mamata Banerjee should take the responsibility of the incident and resign from the post. We demand a high-level enquiry by the judge here."
Congress toed the same line as opposition leader Abdul Mannan visited the spot and saying, "What is the government up to in Kolkata where only you can see flyovers collapsing. This has happened due to the failure of the state government."
West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi who visited the spot questioned the role of the Public Works Department (PWD) department.
"The main question which is still kept in a state of confusion by the government is who was in charge of maintenance of this bridge. Kolkata port trust and rail clearly denied that they were in any way responsible for the maintenance," said (Boby) Firhad Hakim, Urban Development Minister.
Generally, PWD and Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority look after the maintenance of bridges but who was in charge to look after the collapsed bridge has not been made clear by the government. Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee kept mum when he was repeatedly asked this question.
The incident occurred at around 4.45 pm on Tuesday, following which fire tenders, ambulances and teams of NDRF and local police rushed to the spot. West Bengal minister Firhad Hakim also reached the spot soon after the information came in. He said that the priority was to conduct rescue operation to take those trapped out of the debris. Pointing that the bridge is 40-year-old, he added that a technical team would later look into the cause of the collapse.
West Bengal Chief Minister, who is in Darjeeling, said that though she wanted to head back to Kolkata immediately, but could not do so as flights were not operational after evening. She said that the government’s focus was on relief and rescue operation.
“We are very worried. We are receiving information from the rescue team on the ground. We want to go back as soon as possible. There are no flights in the evening, we are unable to do so,” said Mamata Banerjee.
“Our team is focused on relief and rescue work. Our priority is relief and rescue. Rest of the investigation will be done later,” she further said.
The bridge, which passes over the Majerhat railway station, is an important bridge in Kolkata connecting Behala to areas which lie on the other side of the Sealdah railway line.
Teams of NDRF and local police are conducting the rescue operation at the collapse site. The Indian Army clarified that its personnel have not been called in yet but since the area is very close, Army field hospital detachment has been sent.
In 2016 one bridge collapsed in Posta and there too lots of questions came up for which government gave RITES responsibility to survey conditions of different bridges in Kolkata.