“It is a disaster. No one should indulge in politics over it,” said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee after visiting the site of the flyover collapse.
Prior to her arrival, Trinamool Congress leaders were not very visible at the site. Trapped men and women were shouting from underneath the debris. The mammoth iron girders and concrete structure proved too much for some of the cranes. The horrific sights added to the rising tempers.
Video: Visuals of Rescue Operations
When Mayor Sovan Chatterjee and Disaster Management and Fire Minister Javed Khan came a couple of hours after the disaster struck, there was an outpouring of anger. “Chor hai, sab chor hai” was the chant when they arrived. The Mayor, one of the closest lieutenants of Mamata, was purportedly shown taking bribes in a sting operation released recently.
The disaster site is a complex mix in terms of political alignment. It lies at the junction of Kolkata municipal Wards 23, 24 and 25.
While Ward 23 is represented by BJP councillor Bijoy Ojha, the other two are held by Trinamool councillors, one of them being Smita Baxi who is also the Trinamool nominee for the Assembly seat of Jorasanko here.
The adjoining seat of Shyampukur is held by Sashi Panja, yet another Trinamool minister in the reckoning.
Dr Ranjit Kumar Dutta, the medical officer of Ward 23, narrated how he saw a bus-load of school children cross underneath the bridge as it came down. ‘It is God’s grace the school bus slipped past the crossing and the kids were saved,” he said.
Another witness described watching helplessly as a man writhed, stuck waist down under the heavy girders.
Finally a crane came and tried to lift the portion of the collapsed flyover. The crane wires snapped, bringing down the structure which trapped the man again. He died instantly.
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