KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the person who died after a portion of Majerhat bridge in the West Bengal capital collapsed on Tuesday.
''Money and job can't compensate lives but still compensation of Rs 5 lakh has been announced for the person who died. Two people are critical,'' West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said.
The Trinamool Congress chief, who arrived here from Darjeeling, also inspected the incident site and held talks with top government officials.
''There are many more such bridges in West Bengal, so the state government is trying to get those records and take necessary steps,'' she said while talking to reporters.
Money & job can't compensate lives but still compensation of Rs 5 lakh has been announced for the person who died. 2 ppl are critical. There are many more such bridges in Bengal so govt is trying to get those records & take necessary steps: Mamata Banerjee.#MajerhatBridgeCollapse pic.twitter.com/bzB2GqjADZ
— ANI (@ANI) September 5, 2018
Mamata further informed that one more body was recovered on Wednesday. We are probing this incident from all the angles, no angle is less or more important for us. We are holding an emergency meeting on Thursday to chart future course of action.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people residing in the south-western suburbs and vast areas of South 24 Parganas district on Wednesday faced difficulties in commuting due to the closure of the arterial Diamond Harbour Road in view of the incident.
A traffic police officer said vehicles that usually move to and from the city through Majerhat Bridge have been diverted through various other roads.
Traffic snarls were reported at various points in the morning in the south-western parts as diversions in both direction were imposed leading to pressure on these roads.
Train movement below the Majerhat Road Over Bridge (ROB) in the Sealdah-Budge Budge section was normal, Eastern Railway spokesman R N Mahapatra said.
"Train services of Circular Railway from Dum Dum to Majerhat also resumed this morning," he said.
However, services in the Circular Railway portion of railway track between New Alipore and Majerhat stations that passes under the bridge is temporarily suspended, he said.
The closure of a part of the arterial Diamond Harbour Road that connects the city to the shores of Bay of Bengal at Frazerganj over 120 km away, linking many hamlets and towns, affected thousands of people travelling to work, schools and colleges and other purposes.
Patients from these places travelling to hospitals in the city would also have to face the woes of travelling a longer distance until the bridge is restored.
West Bengal Transport Principal Secretary B P Gopalika said that additional state buses have been pressed into service to mitigate the problems being faced by the people in these areas.
"Wherever there will be a need for more buses, we will provide," he said.
Meanwhile, a political slugfest erupted with the Opposition parties on Wednesday accusing the TMC government of "neglecting" repair and maintenance of bridges and only painting various installations blue and white.
The Trinamool Congress, however, dubbed the allegations baseless and said the state government had taken enough steps for repair of old and new bridges, which were in a dismal condition during the Left Front rule.
A section of a 50-year-old Majerhat bridge on the arterial Diamond Harbour Road in south Kolkata collapsed Tuesday evening, snuffing out one life, trapping several people and crushing many vehicles.
Mukul Roy, a former close aide of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and now a BJP leader said, "Painting the city blue and white, the favourite colours of Banerjee, tops the agenda of the PWD department. The repair and maintenance of bridges took a back seat."
"The state government and PWD department is solely responsible for the bridge collapse. The PWD minister Arup Biswas should take the responsibility," he said.
BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said, "Didi (Mamata Banerjee) is dreaming of becoming prime minister and her younger brothers (TMC leaders and ministers) are looting the state in the name of syndicate business. She should keep aside her prime ministerial ambitions and pay attention to the state."
Refuting the opposition charges, state Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim said the state government has taken enough steps to repair old bridges which were in a dilapidated state during the Left Front rule.
"Undertaking beautification work in the city is nothing wrong and it doesn't mean repair of bridges has been neglected. A portion of the bridge has collapsed and it is an unfortunate incident," he said.
According to a senior official of the state PWD department, the government was about to undertake repair work on the decrepit Majerhat bridge and a tender was floated in this regard but it got delayed due to bureaucratic wrangles.
This was the third bridge collapse in the city since 2013.
An under-construction flyover collapsed in crowded Burrabazar area, the wholesale business hub of the city, on March 31, 2016, claiming 26 lives, while on March 4, 2013, a road bridge had collapsed in Ultadanga area in the eastern part of the city, but there was no casualty.
(With PTI inputs)