Special Correspondent

JAIPUR: About 15 persons were still missing in the Chambal river in Kota district of Rajasthan where an under-construction bridge collapsed on Thursday, even as rescuers have recovered 32 bodies of labourers from the debris so far. Rescue workers gave up the search on Monday.

The State government has sought the help of sea-divers and experts from the National Institute of Oceanography in Dona Paula, Goa, for the underwater rescue and relief operations at the disaster site.

A team from the institute is scheduled to arrive at the spot shortly.

According to the police sources, the bodies of victims had so far been recovered from the debris on the surface, while many of labourers working at the partially-submerged bridge were feared to have drowned.

Despite the Navy divers and experts from Gujarat joining the rescue work, the bodies could not be recovered from the water.

The divers could not find the bodies in the river with an estimated depth of 110 feet near the accident site. Police said the presence of crocodiles in the river was also creating difficulty in the rescue operations.

National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) chairman Brijeshwar Singh met Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot here on Monday to review the rescue operations.

Mr. Singh said the NHAI had ordered a probe into the accident and he would be visiting the site to get first-hand information about the breakdown of bridge.

Mr. Gehlot, accompanied by Public Works Department Minister Pramod Jain Bhaya, told reporters after the meeting that the experts from Goa were likely to find the bodies of all victims, who were now presumed dead four days after the accident.

He said both the State government and the NHAI had started the disbursement of financial assistance.

The Chief Minister said the proposed East-West Corridor, where the bridge was being constructed, was going to be an important route for Rajasthan and all attempts would be made, despite the accident, to ensure its timely completion.