31/03/2016 2:28 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST

At least 21 Dead As Flyover Collapses In Kolkata, Police File FIR Against Builders


7.30 pm The Kolkata Police has filed an FIR against IVRCL. Times Now reports that three of the offices have been raided but no one was found in these offices.

It is not clear if the police is going to pursue officials in the Hyderabad headquarters of the company.

An official from the company spoke to the media saying, "It's an act of God. Seventy percent of the project has been completed and 69 percent went without glitches. It is an act God. We are shocked at the incident. There was strict monitoring of the project and checks conducted by the consultants. Even the KMDA (Kolkata Municipal Development Authority) have conducted checks."

Times Now reported that this is not the first time the company has run into trouble. It was being investigated by the CBI for alleged irregularities in the Tsunami rehabilitation housing project in Puducherry.

The latest death toll is 21.

5.15 pm: Mamata Banerjee said that the 'guilty will not be spared' and then said her primary focus at the moment is to make sure that the rescue operations are conducted without too many glitches. However, she still snuck in the information about the flyover having been approved by the previous Left government in Kolkata.

"The guilty will not be spared. We will take action. A very, very unfortunate tragedy. Rescue now first priority," she said. "We appeal to local people to cooperate with us. Please keep the roads free so that rescue ops can continue.

"Our main focus right now is rescuing those trapped," she added.

Times Now reports that the builder, IVRCL has responded to the tragedy by saying it 'was an act of God'.

Control Room Numbers: 1070, 033-2214-3526, 033-2253-5185, 033-2214-5664

4.50 pm: Indian Express reports that the Army has already deployed four columns of personnel for the rescue operations. "There are three medical teams each comprising two Army ambulances, surgeons and nursing assistants. One Engineer team of the Army has also reached the flyover collapse site with special equipment," the report states.

Banerjee announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the kin of the deceased and Rs 2 lakh for those injured.

Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi tweeted:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the deaths in the tragedy and said his thoughts were with the victims.

4.20 pm: Police have told PTI that at least 8 people have been killed and some other reports have pegged the death count at 14 till now.

4.15 pm: Even before the rescue work could begin, political mud slinging kicked off. As CPM leaders took to national and local television channels who criticise the government, the chief minister retorted vehemently. Mamata Banerjee visited the site and expressed condolence for the deceased. However, she also added that the work on the flyover had been approved by the previous CPM government in 2008.

"I had asked for proper paper work and details of the planning. However, they were not submitting us the plans despite our repeated requests. Now if we stopped work on it, courts would ask us, why have we stopped work?" she said, fighting back the accusations against her government just a couple of days ahead of the Assembly polls in the state.

2.30 pm: An under-construction flyover collapsed in a busy north Kolkata neighbourhood today afternoon. Several labourers were reported to have been working on and under the flyover when it collapsed, apart from pedestrians and commuters who were present at the heavily crowded location.

Various reports have put the number of persons dead in the incident between one and ten, and several more are feared trapped under the debris.

A witness told NDTV that at least 150 could be trapped under the debris and television visuals showed cars trapped under it, half of their bodies sticking out from under the debris.

The flyover, according to news channels, was supposed to be the longest in Kolkata connecting north Kolkata to Howrah on the fringes of the city. The flyover had been under construction since 2009 and had been delayed several times.

A disaster management team has been dispatched at site where the Vivekananda flyover near the old Ganesh Talkies collapsed.

"Disaster Management Groups, officials of Kolkata Police and Fire and Emergency Services are at the stop. DMG officials are using gas cutters to save trapped people," a report on DNA stated.

Eye-witnesses speaking to news agency ANI have said that cement had been poured onto the framework just yesterday.

While it has still not been revealed who the builders are, political blame game over the tragedy has already started. When Times Now contacted local CPM leader Mohammed Salim to get an idea about the area and how many people were there, he launched on to a rant against the Trinamool Congress government. When it was pointed out that this may not be the right time to indulge in mud-slinging, a visibly miffed Salim said that the municipal corporation and the urban development ministry should be hauled up for allowing corruption.

Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress spokesperson Derek O'Brien tweeted:

According to latest reports, the NDRF is headed towards the location and chief minister Mamata Banerjee is headed back to Kolkata from her campaign.

The head of the NDRF team, OP Singh told Times Now that two teams with advanced equipment have been despatched to the location.

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