At least 21 people have died under the flyover that fell in the busy Burrabazar area of Kolkata. The flyover, under construction since 2009, fell on the traffic passing underneath it crushing even the sturdiest Ambassador taxis. But the company constructing the fly-over, IVRCL, claims that the horrific incident was an “act of God”.
Speaking to media-persons at Kolkata, K. Panduranga Rao, Group Head (HR & Admin) of the Hyderabad-based company said this:
In a statement issued to the press, A.G.K. Murthy, director of operations, IVRCL, claimed that it was only the 60th segment of the flyover that fell.
“Before that, 59 segments were constructed and all of them are fine. Something happened with this segment. We are trying to find out what happened and we will cooperate with any investigation,” he said.
The Indian Army steps in to help in the rescue and relief efforts. ADGPI
Murthy claimed that no inferior-quality material was used and neither was there any negligence in following safety procedures.
Even the sturdy Ambassador taxis were crushed like muffins under the heavy iron girders. ITB
But IVRCL has a chequered record. The Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) of the Indian Railways had terminated IVRCL’s contract on a previous occasion for “non-performance”.
While the company tried to wash its hands off with the “act of God” remark, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee resorted to her mastered art of blame game.
Even before ordering a probe into the incident, Banerjee accused the Left Front government for the fall of the flyover because it was during its rule that IVRCL got the contract.
She claimed that despite repeated reminders, the company had not shared details of the construction plan with her government.
The Left on the other hand claims that it has not been in power in the state for the last five years and so the blame falls on Trinamool.
This is not the first major accident under Trinamool regime. One of the most horrific ones was the Amri hospital fire of December 9, 2011 that killed 95 people, including patients and staff. In 2013 an under-construction fly-over at the Ultadanga stretch of the city collapsed. No one was killed.
The implementing agency for both the Ultadanga fly-over and the Burrabazar fly-over was Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA).
That speaks a lot about Mamata Banerjee’s own administration. Her reaction? Obviously this… The Kolkata office of IVRCL group has been sealed by the police. An FIR has been filed against the company.