NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday expressed grief over the Majerhat bridge collapse in South Kolkata in West Bengal in which several people were seriously injured and many vehicles crushed under the debris.
The PM also termed the incident as ''deeply unfortunate'' and said that his thoughts are with the kith and kin of the victims.
''The collapse of a part of a bridge in Kolkata is deeply unfortunate. My thoughts are with the families of the victims. I pray that those who are injured recover at the earliest,'' the PM said in his condolence message.
The collapse of a part of a bridge in Kolkata is deeply unfortunate. My thoughts are with the families of the victims. I pray that those who are injured recover at the earliest.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 4, 2018
Meanwhile, the state's Governor, Keshari Nath Tripathi said, ''Bridge deserved better maintenance. There was a report on a pit here for quite some time, I don't know whether PWD noted it. PWD and Railway administration had the responsibility to maintain it. The matter requires investigation.''
The fully-functional bridge collapsed in Majerhat area of south Kolkata in West Bengal on Tuesday afternoon. Though initial reports said that at least five people had died in the incident, a Trinamool Congress minister said that there were no reports of any casualty. He, however, said that eight others got injured and were rushed to a nearby hospital.
West Bengal minister Firhad Hakim, who rushed to the spot soon after the bridge collapse, said that all those who were trapped have been rescued. He said that while there was no information about any casualty in the incident so far, the same cannot be confirmed so soon. Speaking to reporters, the minister said, "It was a 40-year-old bridge. As of now there has been no casualty, but search operations are underway, let us wait."
An eyewitness claimed that he managed to rescue one person, but he succumbed to his injuries on the way to the hospital.
The bridge reportedly collapsed at 4.45 pm. At least 10 fire tenders and ambulances were rushed to the spot. Many vehicles got trapped as the flyover collapsed.
According to eyewitnesses, several people on motorbikes also got trapped under the bridge. They said that electricity went off in the area as the bridge collapsed.
The entire area was cordoned off as the rescue operations began.
People were asked to vacate the area at the earliest as authorities feared that remaining part of the bridge could also collapse.
Fire brigade, police and NDRF personnel are engaged in rescue work in the fading light.
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.
Reacting to the incident, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is currently in Darjeeling, said that she was very worried and wanted to rush back to Kolkata at the earliest.
"We are very worried. We are receiving information from the rescue team on the ground (Majerhat bridge collapse in Kolkata). 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.
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.
More than two years ago, Kolkata's Vivekanand Flyover in Burra Bazar had collapsed resulting in the death of over 20 people while more than 60 others were injured. The flyover was under construction when two parts of the over 2.2-kilometre-long structure came crashing down in the congested market area on March 31, 2016.
Almost a 100-metre long section of Vivekanand Flyover had crashed trapping several pedestrians and vehicles under huge concrete slabs and metal.