Kolkata: In a tragic incident, at least 21 people were killed and 88 injured and some others feared trapped as a portion of an under-construction flyover collapsed on a congested road intersection here on Thursday, crushing people and vehicles as the state government ordered a high-level probe into the incident.
The Army was called in to assist in the rescue operation. Rescue efforts were still on and would continue through the night.
Five columns of Army personnel (about 300 in number) along with NDRF, state disaster management, city police and fire brigade personnel are involved in the rescue operations.
"We had earlier given the death count as 18. Now police have seen three more bodies, which they will extricate," Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said while on a visit to the Calcutta Medical College and Hospital here.
The CM said of the 18 bodies kept in the hospitals, 15 have been identified. Twelve of them have been handed over to the family members.
Banerjee, who rushed to Kolkata after cancelling election rallies in West Midnapore district, had earlier confirmed 18 fatalities and said 17 people were still in hospital after sustaining injuries in the ghastly disaster which occurred around 12.30 pm.
She announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the families of the dead, Rs 2 lakh each for the critically injured and Rs 1 lakh for those who suffered minor injuries.
In a related development, Kolkata Police registered a case against the Hyderabad-based construction firm IVRCL under sections 304, 308 and 407 of the IPC and sealed the local office of company engaged in the flyover's construction.
"It is nothing but God's act," claimed Panduranga Rao of IVRCL, drawing all-round flak.
Chief Secretary Basudeb Banerjee said that a high level inquiry has been ordered into the flyover collapse.
Meanwhile city police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar handed over a report about the incident to the Chief Minister.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed shock and sadness over the loss of lives in the flyover collapse in Kolkata and instructed all possible central help in rescue and relief operations.
"Shocked and saddened by collapse of under-construction flyover in Kolkata. Took stock of the situation & rescue operations," PM Modi, who is in the US on an official visit, tweeted.
"My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives in Kolkata. May the injured recover at the earliest," he added in another tweet.
The accident spot represented a horrific site. Motionless bodies, body parts smeared in blood, scattered iron girdles and concrete slabs of collapsed part of an under-construction flyover were at the site.
Scattered shoes, slippers, water bottles, broken glass panes, hand bags were seen all over the busy Vivekananda Road and Tagore Street crossing spot, called the Ganesh Talkies area, as the security personnel and rescuers were sifting through the rubble in search of survivors.
A video of the disaster showed the Vivekananda Road Flyover - whose foundation was laid in 2008 and where work began in February 2009 - suddenly crashing with a roar, giving no time for anyone under it to escape.
(With Agency inputs)