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Majerhat bridge to be demolished for a new one, says Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee

A new bridge will be construct after the demolition of the Majerhat bridge in Kolkata, Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced on Friday.

india Updated: Sep 14, 2018 20:41 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Majerhat bridge collapse,Kolkata bridge collapse,Kolkata bridge
Rescue personnel at the site of Majerhat Bridge collapse, in Kolkata.(PTI File Photo)

An ageing bridge in Kolkata will demolished for a new one to be built within a year, said West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday, nine days after part of the structure collapsed, killing three people.

The Majerhat bridge, built in the mid-1960s, was in a precarious condition but repairs were held up because of bureaucratic red tape.

A committee headed by chief secretary Malay Kumar De, probing the cause of the September 4 accident, held the primary responsibility lay with the state public works department’s (PWD) which did a poor maintenance job.

Revealing the salient features of its report that was submitted to her on Friday, Banerjee also said the report has indicated that the construction of Metro Rail that was going on close to the bridge also perhaps contributed to the disaster.

She approved the report’s suggestion that the existing structure be pulled down and a new bridge built.

“The negligence by PWD is unforgivable. The time they spent in sending files from one section to another should have been used for taking precautionary measures. Traffic on the bridge should have been restricted. Other measures could have been taken,” said the chief minister.

“The police, which are investigating the case, will take appropriate measures against those involved in negligence. No one would be spared,” she added.

Banerjee has set a deadline of one year for completion of the new bridge.

“We want to complete it at the earliest but not at the cost of compromising with quality,” Banerjee said, adding that the chief secretary will monitor the entire process of demolishing the rebuilding the bridge.

The Majerhat bridge was one of the two arterial links between Kolkata and South 24 Parganas district. In its absence, lakhs of people travelling between the two districts are put to terrible inconvenience every day.

The chief minister has entrusted Kolkata mayor Sovan Chatterjee and police commissioner Rajeev Kumar for finding alternative routes till the new bridge is opened.

“There is one route that can be used for public transport, but it will require a manned level crossing to be set up by the railways. Officials from the railways and the state PWD are discussing various aspects of this new route. The state will bear the cost,” she said.

Two days after the collapse of the bridge, Banerjee said 20 bridges in Kolkata and Howrah are working “past their expiry dates” meaning thereby, these structure are past their design life.

Before the Majerhat bridge collapse. 26 people died when the under-construction Vivekanada flyover collapsed in crowded Burrabazar, the wholesale business hub of the city, on March 31, 2016.

Engineers flagged since then the precarious condition of Kolkata’s flyers after that, but repairs were delayed because of red tape and lack of funds.

First Published: Sep 14, 2018 17:35 IST