‘Damaged Kolkata flyover may collapse any time’

A file photo of the under-construction flyover that collapsed in Kolkata in 2016, and, right, its the remaining portion.  

Two years after a section of an under-construction flyover collapsed in the Burrabazar area of central Kolkata killing 28 people, the West Bengal government is yet to take a decision on dismantling the remaining structure. There is severe discontent among locals who are apprehensive that the structure may “collapse any time.”

Residents of Burrabazar, the largest wholesale market in eastern India, have accused the State government of being “insensitive and indecisive” over the issue.They alleged that the remaining portion of the flyover has become “unstable” and often “trembles” when heavy vehicles pass below it.

Local Trinamool Congress (TMC) leadership and Kolkata Metropolitan Development Agency (KMDA) officials are unable to provide any conclusive response regarding the issue.

Yet to submit report

Following the incident on March 31, 2016, the State government had set up an expert committee comprising former faculty members of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (IIT-KGP) to probe the incident.

TMC MLA Smita Bakshi told The Hindu that the expert committee was yet to submit a “final report” to the State government. “Only after the committee submits its final report, the government will be able to take a final decision,” Ms. Bakshi said.

“We are yet to receive any final instruction from the government regarding the future course of action about the flyover. We also haven’t received any communication from the government about the IIT-KGP report,” a senior KMDA official said.

In its preliminary report, the committee of former IIT-KGP faculty members had stated that faults in design, poor quality of raw materials and lack of supervision were behind the collapse of the flyover. IIT-KGP officials refused to comment on the matter.

Residents of buildings located close to the structure have expressed their discontent over the government inaction. “At least 15 buildings on Vivekananda Road, on which the flyover is located, are less than an arm’s length from the flyover. One of the buildings is only four inches away from it. It is a disaster waiting to happen,” said Bapi Das, a local activist.

Local shop owners said business has been hit as following the flyover collapse traffic on two key tram routes connecting the area with north Kolkata and a couple of bus routes connecting Howrah were discontinued.

Opposition leaders have accused the government of inaction. “By sitting on such a crucial decision, the TMC government is playing with the lives of hundreds of people here,” said Sunil Harsh, a local BJP leader.

“We have contacted government officials several times and tried to reach out to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee but received no response,” said Mahesh Sharma, a local Congress leader.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 10:12:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/damaged-kolkata-flyover-may-collapse-any-time/article23417644.ece

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