Toll rises to three ;Mamata sets up SIT to probe collapse
West Bengal

Toll rises to three ;Mamata sets up SIT to probe collapse

Kolkata, Sep 6: After nearly 40 hours of continuous operation, the NDRF today called off its search, while the toll in Tuesday's Majherhat Bridge collapse rose to three with the recovery of more body in the morning.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee constituted a SIT with policemen from Lalbazar and Alipur to probe the disaster, that literally chocked traffic of major parts of south-western part of this metropolis. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), which deployed its 60 specialists within hours of the cave-in of about 20 mt slab of the 400-mt bridge, extracted the body of Goutam Mondol today, a daily wage labourer-cum-cook of Metro Railway project.

Another person Soumen Bag, a youth from Behala, died on the day of collapse. The NDRF on Wednesday evening found out Pronob Dey and around 0600 hours the body of Goutam Mondal. The last two victims were the daily wage labourers, hired by the Gamon India, executing the Metro Railway works.

The two labourers, residents of Murshidabad district, got trapped in their makeshift tin shade underneath the bridge. Meanwhile, state urban development minister Firhad Hakim today visited the spot. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who cut short her Darjeeling visit before a day, inspected the area on Wednesday, and is scheduled to chair a meeting at Nabanna this afternoon to review the situation.

Most of her cabinet ministers, government officials and senior police officials have been asked to attend the the meeting, also expected to take stock of traffic situation and health of other bridges and flyover across the city. This was third bridge collapse within six years in the state.

The 2016 Vivekananda bridge collapse in central Kolkata took 27 lives when a huge part of the underconstruction flyover caved in. The state government also set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) with policemen from Lalbazar and Alipur to speed up the investigation.

A three-member engineers from RITES, employed by the Eastern Railway, during the preliminary investigation yesterday said the poor maintenance of the bridge led to collapse. The team Metro Railway works had nothing to do with the collapse near the site.

The CM and the Urban minister squarely blamed the vibrations for the collapse of the concrete-tar mixed bridge, spanning the Sealdah-Budge Budge railway tracks and a canal.The NDRF said due to poor access for Metro project and canal, the evacuation and rescue operation took so much time.

A forensic team which examined the damaged portion said due to poor maintenance the collapse happened. The bridge eventually got clean chit just six months back from the state PWD department.UNI