Two days after a major bridge collapsed in Kolkata, killing three people and injuring around 20, the political blame game shows no sign of letting up.
The Majerhat Bridge on the busy Diamond Harbour Road in Kolkata had collapsed on Tuesday, also destroying many vehicles, electric wires and posts. This was the third such incident in Kolkata in five years.
A political blame game has been going on in West Bengal since then, with opposition parties such as the Congress and the BJP blaming the ruling Trinamool Congress for the mishap.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has ordered a probe into the incident and announced some measures in a press conference , even as she blamed the earlier CPI(M) government for the condition of the bridge.
Here are the latest updates:
- ANI reported on Thursday that four months ago, the West Bengal government floated a tender to repair the Majerhat bridge, along with the Taratala flyover and DH road. Repair work was supposed to begin in August and end within seven months.
- On Thursday, Banerjee announced that 10-20 wheel trailers would be banned from plying in the city and asked the port trust and other agencies to make other arrangements to ensure trade and transport did not suffer. This, she said, would protect the roads in the city. The Telegraphquotedthe chief minister as saying, "I do not want heavy trucks of 20 wheels to ply on city roads. Port and others have to make alternative arrangements." The report said this could have severely affect trade unless enough warehouses were built along the highways.
- Banerjee also announced that 20 bridges and flyovers in Kolkata and Howrah were way past their "expiry" dates. These include Santragachi (Howrah), Ultadanga, Sealdah, Belgachia and Dhakuria.
- Banerjee has blamed the CPI-M government for the poor state of roads and bridges in the city. She toldIndia Today, "It is not within our hands. When the Congress government was there, that time this bridge was built. We have not done anything wrong. Some bridges have become weak due to overuse. None have been constructed during our tenure. All of them were built during the CPI(M) rule or earlier. No use in blaming the government alone because plans (building plan) of many of these bridges are not available."
- The body of Gautam Mondal was one of the last to be recovered from the debris of the Majerhat Bridge. The Telegraph reported that the 48-year-old cook's skull was crushed under the weight of the bridge.