Kolkata: With West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress is facing flak over the flyover tragedy that has claimed at least 24 lives, local MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay on Friday argued the project was flawed since its inception during the Left Front's tenure, but could not be discarded or remodelled due to financial implications.
However, he said it would have been better had the structure been remodelled.
"The project that was sanctioned, suffered from defects since its inception and common people had complaints about it. There was no eagerness among the people for the project to be completed," said Bandyopadhyay, a day after a portion of the Vivekananda Road flyover under-construction collapsed near the busy Posta area in north Kolkata.
The foundation for the project was laid in 2008, and work began on February 24, 2009. The Trinamool ousted the Left Front from power in May 2011.
Bandyopadhyay, who represents the North Kolkata parliamentary constituency, said there were calls for discarding a part of the project and remodel it but it could not be done by the Trinamool government because of financial considerations.
"I have myself experienced the peoples' complaints and tried to understand their issues. At one point of time there was talk of discarding a portion of the project and with the help of experts remodel it.
"But it wasn't possible because around 60 percent of the work was already completed," Bandyopadhyay told media persons.
Asked why the government didn't take steps when it knew about the project being faulty, he snapped back: "When 40-50 percent of the project has been completed, do you realise the financial implications of remodelling it?
"... the financial side needs to be taken into consideration, remodelling a project which is half complete... the state government doesn't have so much financial capacity".
Asked if bearing that loss was far better than the tragedy, Bandyopadhyay shot back: "It can be for you but not for me, my view is that if it was remodelled, it would have been better."
Strongly condemning the Trinamool leader's remark, state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdury castigated the Banerjee government for "preferring money over human life".
"His comments amplify Trinamool's hunger for money. For them, what matters is money, no matter if people are dying like insects. The government and the party should be held criminally liable for this mammoth tragedy," he said.