Overbridge collapse leaves a man injured

The Asian Age.

Metros, Kolkata

The Trinamul Congress and CPI(M) blamed each other over maintenance for the accident.

A truck stuck in between as an old bridge collapses leaving the driver injured, near Siliguri, on Friday. (Photo:PTI)

Kolkata: Close on the heels of the collapse of a major portion of Majherhat Bridge in south Kolkata, the state witnessed a similar accident at Phansidewa near Siliguri in North Bengal where another bridge caved in leaving a man injured on Friday morning.

The Trinamul Congress and CPI(M) blamed each other over maintenance for the accident.

Like the part of the Majherjat Bridge had fallen in a canal in Taratola after breaking from the middle claiming three lives and leaving 27 injured on September 4 afternoon, the 70-meter-long bridge, connecting Manganj and Phansidewa, collapsed same way in Pichhla canal at around 9.30 am. A small truck which was passing through the bridge then fell trapped. Its driver was injured.

The local residents rescued him and rushed him to a hospital from where he was discharged after first-aid. Visiting the spot later North Bengal development Minister Rabindranath Ghosh said, “The loaded trucks’ movement through that bridge is restricted. Still many vehicles travelling to the north-eastern states continue to avail the bridge. As a result the accident took place.”

Training guns on the CPI(M)-led Left Front regime he alleged, “This bridge was built by the zilla parishad during the Left rule in 1995. Now it falls under the jurisdiction of Mahakuma Parishad. Ainul Haque, the member elected to the body from our party, repeatedly drew attention of the body’s president who however ignored it. Mahakuma Parishad can not escape its responsibility.”

Mr Ghosh added, “We are trying to start the repair work at the earliest. The state government will decide which department will undertake the repair work.” Singing in chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s tune Mr Ghosh also claimed that the documents relating to the structure of the bridge were yet to be traced as it is old. State tourism minister Gautam Deb also lashed out at the Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad, the sub-divisional body, which is run by the Left.

He informed that he would submit a report to the chief minister. Rejecting the two Trinamul ministers’ allegations senior CPI(M) leader of Darjeeling Jibesh Sarkar however said, “The bridge was built in 2001-02. Recently it became very weak. The Mahakuma Parishad contacted the local administration and identified it as weak. Even a directive was issued banning the movement of heavy vehicles.”

He complained, “Fund was sought from the state government for a project to carry out  repair of the bridge. But there has been a delay in releasing funds since the body is run by the Left.”