Kolkata flyover collapse: Five officials detained, forensic team collects sample from accident site

Three more bodies were recovered from under the debris of the flyover that collapsed on to vehicles and street vendors here, taking the toll to 24 even as five officials of the firm that was building the structure have been detained.

By: Express Web Desk | Kolkata | Updated: April 1, 2016 6:22 pm
A man is seen trapped amid the debris of an under-construction flyover after it collapsed in Kolkata, India, March 31, 2016. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY A man is seen trapped amid the debris of an under-construction flyover after it collapsed in Kolkata. Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri

At least 24 people have been killed and another 100 injured after an under-construction flyover collapsed in North Kolkata near Ganesh Talkies (Girish Park), Thursday afternoon. The location of the bridge is in a densely populated locality in Barabazar.

Rescue operations are currently under-way in a joint operation by the NDRF and the Army.

Eyewitness said they heard a loud explosion and then a crashing sound. “A cloud of smoke emerged from the collapse,” they said.

Read: Hanging fire for seven years, crushes 25 to death

Amidst the dust and debris, the big question was this: what led to the disaster? While a probe ordered by the government is expected to come up with answers, there were some clues on the ground. Officials said that the Left Front government had first come up with the idea of a flyover to de-congest this choked Burrabazar stretch. Work began in 2007 but stopped two years later because of shortage of funds.

Helpline Number: 1070

Kolkata Flyover Collapse – Click Here For Pictures |  All you need to know about the Kolkata flyover that collapsed

FLYOVER COLLAPSE UPDATES:

5:02 pm TMC, BJP engage in war of words over flyover collapse

A war of words erupted over the flyover collapse between the Trinamool Congress and the BJP with Union Minister M A Naqvi accusing the state government of “criminal negligence”, which the TMC described as “cheap politics”.

3:25 pm: Five officials of the firm that was building the structure have been detained.

3:24 pm Forensic team collects sample from accident site

1:00 pm: Complete area cleared, waiting for instruction from civil administration about if Army is required: Brigadier H Kukreja on rescue operations

12:55 pm: The legal head of IVRCL, the builders behind the flyover in Kolkata, responded to media queries.

We are shocked that the flyover collapsed, we are also anxious to know how it happened: IVRCL

We have no information about the FIRs, because they have not yet been served to us: IVRCL

“Act of God” was just an expression used to say that it was in no ones control: IVRCL

12:45 pm: A police team from Kolkata has left for Hyderabad to interrogate officials of the construction firm.

11:35 am: The Army has meanwhile said that it is not hopeful of finding any more body.

11:30 am: The BJP has attacked the Trinamool Congress for its alleged failure in reacting to the tragedy. BJP’s Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the Mamata government has no achievement to show for in its five-year term.

10:30 am: RSS volunteers are helping in rescue efforts in Kolkata, reports ANI

9:00 am: Take a look at the relief measures carried out Thursday night.

8:45 am: The NDRF chief has told ANI that the debris is being removed right now.

Friday, 8:30 am: NDRF chief told ANI that rescue operations have continued at the site, but the possibility of finding survivors are remote.

Read: Construction firm was on Railway Ministry’s watchlist

Updates for Thursday end

10:20pm Prime Minister Narendra Modi calls West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, offers condolences for the victims of the flyover collapse. Assured all co-operation and assistance.

10:06 pm Death toll has risen to 21, two of the injured are critical.

9:38 pm Three more NDRF teams sent to accident spot, 10 teams at the site currently.

8:53 pm Police sealed the local office of IVRCL, a Hyderabad-based company which had taken up the construction work of the flyover. Two of the IVRCL officials missing.

8:48 pm: 18 dead bodies have been retrieved.

8:00 pm: FIRs have been registered relating to the bridge collapse.

7:30 pm: Facebook has activated the “Flyover collapse in Kolkata” safety feature.

6.00 pm: “We will take stringent action, it’s a serious matter… negligence is a crime. Opinions of engineering experts will be taken in the matter,” WB CM Mamata Banerjee said, adding that her government will take care of all the expenses of all the injured.

5.50 pm: An update on the rescue operations – “Five NDRF teams are working with 268 personnel, they are trying to locate trapped victims. Three teams of NDRF are on their way, they will be reaching the site very soon”: OP Singh (DG, NDRF)

5.40 pm: At least 15 dead and over 50 have been injured in the flyover collapse, CM Mamata Banerjee said. She’s currently at the construction site overlooking rescue operations.

5.30 pm: CPI(M)’s Surjya Kanta Mishra urged Left workers to help officials in rescue operations. “Condole deaths and injuries to scores in flyover collapse in Kolkata. Calling upon CPI(M) and Left activists to help in rescue operation in flyover collapse. Mobilise to donate blood in hospitals.”

5.15 pm: Here’s what KP Rao of IVRCL Infrastructure — the company involved in the construction — had to say.

“Forty-five per cent of the work was left, one girder missed and the second one fell. It is nothing but God’s act,” Rao said.

5.00 pm: Rescue operations are still underway

4.40 pm: CCTV footage of Kolkata flyover collapsing (Click here if you’re using a mobile device)

4.35 pm: BJP says it’s a ‘clear case of corruption’

4.15 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in Washington, has reacted to the collapse: “Shocked, saddened by collapse of under construction flyover. Took stock of the situation and rescue operations.”

4.10 pm: ‘Not built during our time’ 

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said at the flyover collapse site that construction of that flyover began in 2008, “during CPM time not our time”.

“Our main focus is to rescue those who are trapped”, Banerjee said, announcing instructions to police and rescue officials using a loudspeaker.

 

3.50 pm: The West Bengal government has announced compensation of Rs 5 lakh for next of kin of the deceased, and Rs 2 lakh for the injured.

3.38 pm: Police sources have told PTI that eight persons were killed in the incident, while several others were injured. The death toll could go up, they said.

3.30 pm: The Indian Army has already deployed four columns of rescue personnel. 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.

3.25 pm: MoS Home Kiren Rijiju: “Our team is in contact with West Bengal. NDRF teams have been dispatched.
We will send more NDRF teams and para-military forces if necessary. The state government is already doing whatever is necessary, central forces are there to support, help and take part in rescue and relief operations.”

 

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3.20 pm: Ola Cabs won’t be charging peak fares and have increased the number of cabs in that locality.

3.12 pm: “More teams are being mobilised for accident spot in Kolkata, two teams have already reached there,” OP Singh, DG NDRF told ANI.

3.11 pm: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has arrived at the flyover site.

3.10 pm: ‘Extremely tragic’ says Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi

 

3.02 pm: At least four people – one woman and three men – have been killed in the collapse, a police officer at Posta police station confirmed to The Indian Express. Around 35 people have been rushed to the hospital and at least a hundred are trapped under the debris.

 

2.48 pm: Home Minister Rajnath Singh is in West Bengal today

Here’s what Minister Singh had to say: “Deeply saddened to know that precious lives have been lost in the Kolkata accident.My heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased. Spoke to DG NDRF who apprised me of the situation at the accident site in Kolkata. NDRF teams have been rushed to the spot for rescue ops.”

2.40 pm: Here’s what we know about the flyover

Vivekananda Road flyover is a Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) project which was nearing completion. It is a Rs 164-crore project which the Left front government had initiated in 2007 to facilitate the movement of traffic as well as pedestrians in this busy and clogged stretch of the central business district in Burrabazar-Posta. The completion of the bridge was expected to ease the congestion of vehicular traffic as well as men moving from north and east Kolkata to Howrah.

It was learnt that right from inception, locals objected to its design as some stretches of the flyover crossed menacingly close to multi storied buildings,flanking on both sides of the existing road stretch. State government sources said that there was considerable pressure from the state urban development department to ensure speedy completion of the project.

 

There were some outstanding issue of land clearance to be given by the Kolkata Port Trust to the state government on the Howrah end of the flyover. But the issue was reportedly resolved after the intervention of the chief minister Mamata Banerjee and work was on full swing on the flyover for its speedy completion.

2.33 pm: Here are some images an eye-witness at the Kolkata flyover site has shared on Twitter

 

2.24 pm: The Indian Army is also on its way to the construction site. Given this response we could well be staring at a massive rescue operation with several casualties.

2.20 pm: BJP wants ministers to be held responsible

BJP’s Kailash Vijayvargiya: “We want action to be initiated against the ministers and people associated. Mamataji’s government is responsible for this.”

2.15 pm: Images of a taxi crushed under the flyover

2.10 pm: From our Kolkata Bureau – Heavy cranes were being moved to the accident site. But it would require dozens of heavy duty cranes to remove those gigantic iron and concrete structure. Some platoons of para military and disaster management forces have moved in but they could hardly move the collapsed structures.

2.08 pm: “Our team is on their way to the site with all required equipment, we are also pressing into service canines which will help find trapped people. We will start the operations as soon as possible,” an NDRF official told NDTV.

“As soon as we reach, we’ll reccee the site and begin operations soon.”

2.03 pm: TMC’s Derek O’Brien: “Monumental tragedy. Rescue ops on.Many feared dead. Chief Sec/Home Sec at site. CM headed back to Kol immediately.This is the update I have.”

 

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2.00 pm: Two units of NDRF being rushed to Ganesh Talkies area of North Kolkata to assist in rescue work

1.52 pm: Several police, rescue officials at the site

1.50 pm:News reports suggest that concrete was added to the under-construction flyover only last night and locals complained that the bridge was shaking.

1.48 pm:“Sent shivers down my spine”

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1.45 pm: The BJP and the CPI-M demanded that the TMC government needs to be answerable for the flyover collapse. “It’s a reflection of corruption,” BJP’s Siddharth Nath Singh said. The flyover was right outside the election office of BJP’s Rahul Sinha.

 

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