Another bridge collapses in West Bengal, truck driver injured
An old bridge collapsed near Siliguri, West Bengal today, leaving a truck driver injured. The structure collapsed at around 9.30am when a truck was crossing it; the vehicle is stuck in the bridge's broken portion. This is the second incident of a bridge collapse in WB in three days. The Majerhat Bridge collapsed in Kolkata on September 4, killing three and injuring 24.
The bridge connects Manganj and Phansidewa areas to Siliguri, a major city in North Bengal. Phansidewa is around 22 km from Siliguri. "The movement of loaded trucks is banned on this bridge but many such vehicles bound for north-eastern states continue to take that bridge. This accident is a result of that," North Bengal Development Minister, Rabindranath Ghosh, said.
Ghosh said this bridge was constructed long back and papers of the structure are not available. Repair work of the bridge will be undertaken after the PWD prepares a report, he said. State Tourism Minister, Gautam Deb, said the bridge was maintained by the Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad (a sub-divisional body), run by the CPI(M)-led Left Front. "I'll report to CM Mamata Banerjee," Deb said.
Engineers and state government officials have rushed to the spot. Senior CPI(M) leader of Darjeeling district, Jibesh Sarkar, accused the TMC government and the district administration of ignoring repeated pleas to repair the bridge. "We had informed the state and the local administration that it needs to be repaired. But as it's a Left-run Mahakuma Parishad, funds weren't released by the government," Sarkar said.
An under-construction flyover also collapsed at Siliguri's Phansidewa on August 11, but there had been no casualty. CM Banerjee yesterday said a nation-wide survey of bridges should be undertaken. She said there are 20 bridges in and around Kolkata which have crossed their expiry dates.