The Latest: Top stories of the day
1. A massive portion of a flyover that was under construction collapsed in the middle of Kolkata on Thursday, killing at least 18 and injuring scores more.
2. A written request from the Pakistani investigative team looking into the Pathankot attacks suggests Islamabad has acknowledged the fact that the terrorists came from Pakistan.
3. West Indies beat India by seven wickets in the semifinals of the World T20 Cup, setting up a final match against England.
The Big Story: All falls down
It is hard to use a single incident, even a large, tragic one, to make a broader point. And yet tragedies can often be the most evocative. Consider all the depressing details that go into the collapse of the flyover in Burrabazaar portion of Kolkata, causing the death of at least 21 people and injuring many more.
The project was initiated in 2009 through an open tender. It was supposed to be ready 18 months later. Instead, it missed nine deadlines. Contributing to this was red-tape and a lack of regulatory clarity on when, where and how much construction could be carried out during the day in crowded parts of the city.
There were massive cost overruns. In fact, the company contracted to build the flyover ran out of money. The firm was even blacklisted by several states and the railway ministry. Nevertheless, the government – with elections coming up – pushed for the flyover to be completed early. And then a senior executive at the group insisted the event was an "act of god."
Delays, red-tape, shoddy construction, blacklisted companies, political pressure and business audacity: The only thing missing in this deadly Indian cocktail, one that is depressingly familiar, is a hint of outrageous corruption – (which will surely emerge) and some blatant politicking (which West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has already begun to do).
The Big Scroll
What the proliferation of flyovers tells us about Indian cities. Watch CCTV footage of the exact moment the under-construction flyover in Kolkata collapsed. Across India, 2,600 people die every year in building and other structural collapses.
Policying & Politicking
1. The Indian Met Department, in its first-ever summer forecast, has predicted a scorching summer with temperatures expected to be several degrees above normal.
2. China has once again blocked India's attempt at the United Nations to ban Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar, alleged to have planned the Pathankot attacks.
3. The Supreme Court has extended its ban on the registration of new diesel cars in the National Capital Region, as a part of efforts to reduce pollution.
4. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at a dinner hosted by US President Barack Obama in Washington, DC, once again called on the world to define and unite against terrorism.
1. Sudeep Chakravarti in Mint begins a series of columns on the madness of the war in Chhattisgarh.
2. Rathin Roy in the Business Standard recommends six actions the government needs to take to ensure better fiscal policymaking.
3. Dinesh Thakur in the Hindu asks, who will heal our drug industry?
Bhavya Dore writes of the English-language makeover that Goa's beloved theatre form is getting.
"The theatrical innovation of this now very Goan form is credited to the genius of one Lucasinho Ribeiro who wrote and performed the first such event in Bombay (as it was called then) in April 1892. Ribeiro is believed to have been inspired by Italian opera. Starting off as a kind of high culture, tiatr has since become a form of mass entertainment for the Konkani-speaking working classes."