4 More Arrested Over Vivekananda Flyover Mishap

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Kolkata: Four officials of a private organization were arrested on Thursday over the Vivekananda flyover mishap.

On 31 March 2016, part of the under-construction Vivekananda flyover in the Girish Park neighbourhood of Kolkata, India, collapsed. Twenty seven people were dead and more than 80 were injured in the incident.

At 12:40 pm IST on 31 March 2016, a 150 m (490 ft) span of steel of the bridge collapsed, trapping many pedestrians and vehicles underneath. The incident took place at the busy Rabindra Sarani – K K Tagore road crossing. 27 people were killed and at least 80 others were injured. More than 90 people had been pulled from the rubble, but as of 1 April, over 100 people were still unaccounted for. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) worked in relief operations with police, and other security personnel. Many photographs and videos were quickly posted on social media platforms.

On 1 April 2016, the construction company IVRCL was charged with murder, under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. The police detained five IVRCL officials in Kolkata and two in Hyderabad, and sealed off IVRCL’s local office in Kolkata. The firm called the collapse an “accident”, while one IVRCL official described it as an “act of god”. The shares of the company fell 11.7% the day after the disaster. Sixty-two families living in buildings near the accident site were asked to vacate temporarily for the safe removal of collapsed debris. In a letter sent to BSE, IVRCL claimed that the design of the flyover was done by a reputed consulting firm of Kolkata.

The Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, rushed to oversee the post-crash relief and rescue operation, and made a statement blaming the previous left-wing government for the disaster. The previous state government, headed by the CPI(M), alleged that the portion of the flyover that collapsed was built during the current Government’s tenure. Minister of State for Urban Development, Babul Supriyo remarked that the construction work of the flyover was carried on in an unscientific manner and “the state administration did not take any lesson even after the collapse of Ultadanga flyover three years ago”. The legal advisor to IVRCL, Sheela Peddinti said, “The glass was shattered. It could have been a blast.” The vice-president of the Indian National Congress, Rahul Gandhi visited the injured and the site of accident. He refused to make any political statements. Later, he incidentally raised the issue at rallies and accused the ruling party, Trinamool Congress of negligence.

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