An under-construction flyover collapsed near Ganesh Talkies in Girish Park, north Kolkata on Thursday. Ten people have been killed and several people are feared to be trapped under the debris after the Vivekananda Setu flyover collapsed, according to CNN-IBN.
Traffic has come to a standstill and rescue operations are on. Many passenger vehicles, trucks and rickshaws were seen under the debris but it was not immediately known as to how many people were trapped.
Image courtesy: CNN-IBN
“The bridge collapsed. I think atleast 150 people are under the debris,” ANI quoted an eye-witness as saying.
Firefighters and residents were trying with their bare hands to rescue those trapped under the wreckage of the metal-and-cement structure.
Television footage from the scene showed a bloody hand reaching out from under what appeared to be a massive girder. People were trying to hand bottles of water to survivors pinned underneath.
“The condition is pathetic. At this moment no one has any clue how many people are trapped,” said Raichand Mohta, a police officer at the scene.
There was little sign of a coordinated rescue operation, with access for heavy lifting equipment restricted by the proximity of buildings on either side of the flyover and heavy traffic.
Some people who were rescued with injuries were admitted to hospital.
Disaster Management Groups and officials of Kolkata Police and Fire and Emergency Services are at the spot, according to DNA. Gas cutters are also being used to save trapped people.
Two teams of the National Disaster Response Force comprising about 80 personnel have rushed to the flyover collapse spot.
NDRF Director General OP Singh said in Delhi that the teams are being sent from their local base at Rajarhat, near the Kolkata airport.
The accident spot is about 13 kms from the NDRF base.
“The teams are well equipped to immediately conduct rescue operations. They will do that exactly as soon as they reach,” Singh said.
According to reports, the flyover was being constructed by the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority. According to Times Now, the project was supposed to be finished in 2010 but was delayed.
The flyover has been under construction since 2009 and the project had missed several deadlines, reported India Today.
According to this 2014 report in The Telegraph, a company called IVRCL was awarded the contract for the flyover on 24 February, 2009 with an 18-month deadline and a budget of Rs 164 crore.
But even in 2014, IVRCL, which had been contracted by the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) to build the flyover, had told the state government that “it was in a difficult position to complete the project that is already running 42 months behind schedule with only 69 per cent of the work done so far.”
A similar incident had taken place in May 2013, when a huge portion of a flyover on the eastern side of Kolkata had collapsed, leaving three persons injured, police had said.
Girish Park metro station is a major transport hub in Kolkata, because of which the area is generally crowded. The area also houses many residential and commercial buildings.