West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday announced that Kolkata’s Majerhat Bridge, a part of which collapsed earlier this month, will be demolished and a new one will be constructed, PTI reported. Three people were killed in the collapse on September 4.
The new bridge will be built within a year, Banerjee said.
An investigation committee looking into the incident mentioned negligence on part of officials of the Public Works Department as well as ongoing metro construction work as reasons that led to the collapse, reported ANI. “They [the PWD officials] cannot avoid responsibilities,” said Banerjee.
The PWD, which conducted an audit of bridges and flyovers in July as ordered by the chief minister’s office, had reportedly failed to identify weaknesses or faults in the 54-year-old bridge. The department had even given the bridge a fitness certificate after conducting a routine check and issued instructions to carry out beautification work.
On Friday, the state PWD also identified seven bridges in Kolkata as “most vulnerable”, PTI quoted an unnamed senior official of the department as saying. They need urgent repairs and are among the 20 classified as “distressed” structures.
The “most vulnerable” structures are Bijon Setu, Gouribari Aurobindo Setu, Belgachhia Bridge, Tollygunge Circular Road Bridge, Dhakuria Bridge, Tallah Bridge and Santragachi bridge.
“Load-bearing capacities of these bridges were carried out and depending on that report, we have suggested to the police to impose restriction on goods-carrying vehicles to prevent further deterioration of the condition of the distressed structures,” said the official.
The Kolkata Police has banned movement of goods vehicles on the first four bridges and could do the same for the other three, said an unnamed officer of the Kolkata Traffic Police.