A truck driver was injured after a canal bridge collapsed near Siliguri in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district early Friday morning, PTI quoted North Bengal Development Minister Rabindranath Ghosh as saying. The driver has been admitted to hospital.
“The movement of loaded trucks is banned on this bridge but many such vehicles bound for north-eastern states continue to take that bridge. This accident is a result of that,” Ghosh said.
He said this bridge was constructed long back and papers of the structure are not available. Repair work of the bridge will be undertaken after the PWD prepares a report, he said.
Tourism Minister Gautam Deb said the bridge was maintained by the Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad (a sub-divisional body), run by the CPI(M)-led Left Front. “I will report to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee,” Deb said.
Engineers and state government officials have rushed to the spot.
Senior CPI(M) leader of Darjeeling district Jibesh Sarkar accused the Trinamool Congress government and the district administration of ignoring repeated pleas to repair the bridge. “We had informed the state and the local administration that it needs to be repaired. But as it is a Left-run Mahakuma Parishad, funds were not released by the government,” he said.
The incident comes three days after the Majerhat flyover collapse in Kolkata which claimed three lives and left 27 injured. “Total three people have died so far, 27 persons were injured in the incident out of which 13 are still admitted at the hospital. Eleven of them have been treated and discharged,” a senior police official of Kolkata Police said.
The Majerhat bridge, which is about 50-years-old and connects the city to South 24 Paraganas and southern suburban areas, had collapsed on September 4. The city police have already registered a case against unknown persons under sections 304 (death by negligence not amounting to murder), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 427 (causing mischief thereby causing loss or damage) and 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). As per sources, a Special Investigation Team has also been formed to probe the incident.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday tried to dodge Opposition criticism over the collapse of a portion of the Majherhat bridge, saying the structure was not built during her regime. Warning that stern action would be taken against those responsible for the incident, Banerjee accused the BJP of planting misleading stories.
Banerjee said the primary report submitted by PWD chief engineer had found that the 54-year-old bridge got affected due to the adjacent metro construction work. “Primary report has been given by PWD chief engineer which suggests the bridge got affected due to metro construction work. Metro Railway has been asked to stop work near Majerhat bridge till panel probing its collapse gives a report,” she said.
(With PTI inputs)