2nd April 2016
Fly-over collapsed at the Ganesh Talkies crossing,Girish Park , claiming several lives and leaving many injured. The death toll has touched 28 and is likely to increase. Severely injured people have been rushed to Kolkata Medical College & Marwari relief society for recovery. Rescue operation is in full swing led by Indian Army , National Disaster Response Force, Kolkata Police, Disaster Management group, Fire Brigade, RSS, local people. The chances of finding more survivors are getting thinner.by the minute.
31st March 2016
It started just like another day in a metropolitan. Blaring horns, busy streets, commotion all around and several people on road heading to their daily routine. Few were going to office, few were just having a gossip at xing , students of primary school were returning home from school in pool car, having fun as they always do. In a fraction of second the whole buzz became silent for a moment and then turned the whole scenario into a nightmare never dreamt of. At around 12:15 PM, the sky fell apart on them with thundering noise, tremors and echoes continued to haunt the eye witnesses. Ritesh Jain, a local shop keeper of the Ganesh Talkies xing says, “The sound of the collapsing flyover was like bomb blast and the vibration was next to an earthquake”.The city of joy faced the most catastrophic ‘man-made’ disaster bringing it in the spotlight.
Locals took time to settle down and measure the enormity of the incident which shattered so many lives in just mere 6 seconds. The locals started rescue operations immediately, but due to lack of experience and equipment the pace of the operation was very sloth. Yosuf, a local youth says,” I was horrified by the incident , The voice of the people who were stuck under the concrete slabs mainly disturbed me badly, May Allah save all the survivors”. Locals were seen clearing the concrete slabs and aiding the survivors. Local people numbering no less than hundred rushed to the spot and gave their very best in rescuing people. Later on Kolkata Police joined in the operation with Disaster Management group. After getting orders from the Election Commissioner of West Bengal, the CISF and CRPF jawans joined the rescue operation. Heavy duty cranes joined the operation from 3 sides of the crossing which gave vital boost to the rescue operation. At around 3 PM Indian Army troops marched down to the crisis spot and initiated the operation on full swing, but it took a long 2.5 hours to arrange the necessary instruments which will prove to be useful in such situations.
This showcases the administrative failure of the state government and points out how ill-prepared our city is when faced with such disasters. In the evening Mamata Banerji, Chief Minister of West Bengal rushed to the spot to monitor the rescue operation, she cancelled her election campaign in Kharagpur and came back to Kolkata immediately after receiving the news. She has ordered a investigation probe and assured punishment to the people who are involved. She has also announced compensation of Rs.5 Lakh INR to the family of the deceased and 3 Lakh INR to the severely injured and Rs. 1 Lakh to the people who are less injured. Opposition party leaders also joined in later to continue the game of politics on the very field where several innocents died and many still buried in concrete’s and steel jungle. Social volunteer clubs are playing very active role in rescue operation. There were no survivor found after the sunset, The body of the deceased were unidentifiable, Twisted, broken and burnt to ashes. Several gas cutters were involved in the operation to cut into the large sized steel beams and girders. SFI and DYFI initiated the blood donation camp where several active youths were on the first line to donate blood. Local NGO’s were very active giving food to the service men who were rescuing people since noon.
The kings part of the broken segment of the flyover has been almost fully cleared off but another huge part is still posing a threat, since it is lying on the shoulders of two heavy loader trucks on both the sides. Civil Engineers are discussing methods to clear of the flyover safely, They have launched a notice to the dwellers of the nearby buildings to evacuate their houses.
In the Spot light
The accident has raised several questions to the callousness of the KMDA (Kolkata Municipal Development Authority) and ruling party leaders are faced with several burning questions, few of which they are able to answer. Chief Minister Mamata Banerji after reaching the troubled area started her speech by blaming the previous government as it was sanctioned in their tenure. The fact provides a clear perspective that the main process of construction was initiated under the government lead by Mamata Banerji. Recent speech of Mr. Sudip Banerji has made the situation more uneasy for them, he says ” I was informed that the construction has technical drawbacks when the 70% of the flyover was built. It is not likely to stop work procedures considering the investment that state government made already.” Such lame statement has raised questions on the valuation and safety of citizens life under the current state government. Joint Opposition leader Mr. Adhir Chowdhury demanded to arrest Urban Development minister of the state, Mr. Firad Hakim. The chaotic situation of Kokata is lit up with fumes of cold melodramatic war of political parties to serve their own ends
IVRCL,The construction company who were in charge of the construction of the “Vivekananda Setu”. received this project under JNNURM from the left front government in 2009. The office of IVRCL in Anandapur was sealed off by Kolkata Police as no one was found there.4 associates of the IVRCL have been detained for further queries.According to police, a team of detectives have started off for Hyderabad to find the high officials of the agency. The company is charged with murder. Earlier, a case was filed against the company, IVRCL, under section 304 of the Indian Penal Code, which refers to negligence not amounting to murder, but the charge has been converted to section 302. Five employees have been detained in Kolkata and two in Hyderabad.
The Hyderabad based construction agency does not have a pleasing past. It faced investigation appealed by the Hyderabad Corporation due to issue regarding workers safety and is among black listed construction agencies according to railways for their lack of quality of their products. Public Interest Litigation has been filed against the organisation at Kolkata high Court.
The Flyover was meant to connect Girish Park with Howrah Bridge stretching 2.2 Km. It was scheduled to be inaugurated by August 2011 but it started to fail deadline one after another. In recent times the agency was not in good shape to carry construction procedures , so it was stopped for 6 long months. Neither any monitoring nor quality checks were carried by the agency during this gap. In a recent campaign, CM of West Bengal had promised to inaugurate the flyover before elections. For that the agency was rushing to finish the work. But instead the callousness and negligency claimed several lives which can not be compensated for. The flyovers supposed to save time actually stopped the life clock of the deceased . Several families are broken into pieces for this. This accident could have been avoided if through proper administration the construction process was monitored.
Rescue operation has been running for 50+ hours. Youths of the city expressed their grieve by attending candle light procession in solidarity of the deceased on Saturday evening.
As hours pass, unheard stories of the survivors or last minute touching conversations are coming out. Lets pray for the deceased persons and the injured, lets pay solidarity to the affected innocent people who lost their lives or lost their kith and keens . Blood Donation camps are operating in full swing.If you are aware of people with (-)ve blood group, please do bring him\her to Medical College.
About Sagnik Datta
Sagnik Datta is a 18 years young , photo enthusiast hailing from kolkata, Having interest in human life documentation and photo journalism. A keen learner of aspects of street photography.
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