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AsiaB&WFeaturedStoryInterruption by Indranil Banerjee

Busy street corners, Blaring horns of vehicles, Homeless people sleeping on the footpaths, traffic jam,school children of a nearby girls school crossing the road, like all their daily routine, It was just like another day in the Metropolitan.

Busy street corners, Blaring horns of vehicles, Homeless people sleeping on the footpaths, traffic jam,school children of a nearby girls school crossing the road, like all their daily routine, It was just like another day in the Metropolitan.

And Ganesh Talkies is one of the most important part of the city and close to heart of every Kolkatans. A commendable amount of people use this crossing of Vivekananda Road and Rabindra Sarani for their daily access which is one of the busiest crossing of North Kolkata. To control is traffic to ease the access a construction of a Flyover was going on and it was started in 2009. This was supposed to be inaugurated before 2016 election and all the daily sufferers were waiting eagerly.

It was 31st of March, 2016, 12:15 p.m. on clock. The life in metropolitan was interrupted. The people who were waiting for the traffic signal under the bridge or the fruit sellers or the pull car drivers never dreamt of such a nightmare. It was the most catastrophic disaster Kolkata has faced in recent times. The Flyover collapsed down claiming several lives. The sky fell apart on the City of Joy.

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People were stuck under the concrete slabs and steel beams of huge sizes. Limbs and bodies were tore apart. The dead bodies and the survivors were rushed to Calcutta Medical College, R.G Kar and nearby Marwari relief society. Local people took time to realize the enormity of the accident and due to lack of experience the pace of rescue operation was very sloth. Later on Kolkata Police, Civil defence, Disaster management group, CISF and CRPF joined the rescue operation. And the operation ran for 72+ hours. The State Government announced compensation for the deceased peoples family and the people who were severely or less injured.

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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 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 negligence, claimed several lives which can’t 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.

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After all these things the company, which was constructing the Flyover was not shut down. The people who were behind all these were not arrested and will never be. The collapsed flyover claimed 28 lives and a lot of dreams. Abhishek Kondoi of Jorasanko area lost his parents. He is a Final year accountancy student. Dhiman Dutta of Jorabagan area, a first year student of Bengali, has lost his father Late Tapan Kumar Dutta. Dhiman is associated with one theater group of Kolkata and struggling for his family, which means only his mother and grandfather now. ‘Vivekananda Setu’ incident has left many other shattered dreams and tears in the hidden allies of the City of Joy. Dindayal Singh’s eyes were full of tremors and noise of the incident. A lot of Candle light march, protest march, blood donation camps are going on in the city. All we can do is to pray for the affected families. May their souls rest in peace.

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One comment

  • Avatar
    Subhabrata

    Apr 22, 2016 at 23:38

    Brilliant work.

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