FIR against builder IVRCL over Kolkata flyover collapse; at least 16 dead

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March 31, 2016

Kolkata: Kolkata Police on Thursday filed an FIR against the construction company IVRCL over flyover collapse in which at least 16 people have died. Over 70 others are injured after an under-construction flyover collapsed at the busy Rabindra Sarani-K K Tagore Street crossing near Burrabazar, one of the most congested areas in the city.

March 31, 2016

Kolkata: Kolkata Police on Thursday filed an FIR against the construction company IVRCL over flyover collapse in which at least 16 people have died. Over 70 others are injured after an under-construction flyover collapsed at the busy Rabindra Sarani-K K Tagore Street crossing near Burrabazar, one of the most congested areas in the city.

(Pictured) Firefighters and rescue workers search for victims at the collapse site on March 31.

Eyewitnesses and local authorities believe that more than 100 people might be trapped under the debris. Several vehicles were passing through the area when the flyover came crashing down around 12:40 PM.

"It is nothing but God's act," claimed Panduranga Rao of the Hyderabad-based IVRCL Construction company engaged in the flyover's construction, drawing all round flak.

CCTV footage showed people, cars, autorickshaws and hawkers coming under the collapsed structure. Some trying to flee the spot were also trapped.

A blame game erupted with the ruling Trinamool Congress blaming the previous Left Front government, which started construction of the flyover when it was in power, and the Left parties hitting back.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, "The tender was passed in 2009 by the erstwhile Left Front government and was given to Hyderabad-based IVRCL Construction," adding that the company had not provided the government details of the construction plan despite several reminders. Four columns of Army personnel (about 300 in number) along with NDRF, state disaster management, city police and fire brigade personnel joined in rescue operations.

"Stringent action will be taken against officials of the construction company and others involved," the Chief Minister, who cut short her election campaign in West Midnapore district and rushed back to the city, said.

State chief secretary Basudeb Banerjee announced compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of each of the dead, Rs 3 lakh to those injured seriously and Rs 1 lakh to those less injured.

"The government will bear all costs for treatment of the injured," he added.

Construction of the 2.2 km-long flyover had started in 2009 during Left Front rule.

An under-construction flyover collapsed at a crowded business center in Kolkata, India, on March 31, 2016. More than 100 people and several passenger vehicles, including a bus, are feared trapped beneath the debris. Kolkata police confirmed 18 deaths and more than 70 persons injured. Both Army and National Disaster Response Force personnel were deployed for search and rescue operations.

Huge cranes and other rescue vehicles were pressed into service to clear the debris and rescue the injured.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in the US on an official visit, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and other leaders expressed shock and sadness over the loss of lives in the flyover collapse and instructed all possible central help in rescue and relief operations.

The state government has opened emergency helplines – numbers 1070, 033-22143526, 033-22535185, 033-22145664 at the state secretariat 'Nabanna' to provide information related to those injured or killed in the mishap.

The Army sent 10 ambulances along with its complement of medics to the spot.

A team of engineers from the Army also reached the spot with cranes, water bowsers, gas cutters and specialist equipment to help the civic authorities dismantle the debris.

General Officer in Command of Army's Bengal area, Lt Gen Rajeev Tewary supervised the rescue operations.

Probes into the tragedy has been demanded by the opposition parties.

The BJP demanded a CBI inquiry into the collapse."We feel that CBI inquiry should be initiated into the incident, in order to book the culprits. All the culprits, however big they may be, should be arrested. The state should request for a CBI inquiry. This incident is a clear case of rampant corruption regarding the construction of flyovers," Union minister Muqtar Abbas Naqvi said.

The Congress and CPI-M also demanded high-level probe into the mishap.

CPI-M Politburo member Mohd Salim said a high-level investigation should be carried out into the incident. In a similar demand, state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said a probe should be ordered into the entire construction process of the flyover.


Courtesy: PTI