Two years after Kolkata Flyover Collapse, remaining portion yet to be dismantled

The West Bengal government is yet to dismantle the remaining portion of the Vivekananda flyover that had collapsed in 2016. According to a report in The Hindu, the damaged structure may collapse anytime and the locals of the area, many of whom have houses at just arm’s length away from the structure, are living under constant worry and apprehension.

The Burrabazar area, which is known as the largest wholesale market in eastern India, is densely populated and sees intense traffic throughout the day. According to the report, the residents of the area have accused the state government to be insensitive and indecisive over the issue. They allege that the remaining structure is unstable and often trembles when heavy vehicles pass under it.

The local Trinamool Congress MLA and the officials at the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Agency (KMDA) are unable to provide any conclusive answer on the issue. The MLA, Smita Bakshi, reportedly stated that the expert committee that was formed comprising former IIT-KGP faculty members is yet to submit its final report any decision regarding the future course of action will come only after the government receives the report.

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image courtesy: Hindustan Times

On March 31, 2016, the flyover at Burrabazar had collapsed over the vehicles and vendors beneath it, leaving 27 people dead and 100 injured. The flyover, whose construction had begun in 2007 and then had dragged on for a decade, had collapsed while still under construction.

An expert committee formed by the TMC government has stated that not only the KMDA but all the agencies involved in the construction of the flyover were to be blamed. The committee had stated that the design, the raw material used, the progress of construction and even the traffic management, everything was flawed regarding the flyover. Back in August 2016, senior officials at the state secretariat had stated that the government will ask the expert committee to decide the future course on the flyover within two days and implement it immediately. Sadly, the two days have turned into two years and there has been no implementation. Several employees of the Hyderabad based firm IVRCL were arrested.

Local activists and residents state that the traffic, business and daily commute in the area have been badly hit by the collapse and the several buildings which stand close to the collapsed structure face constant danger. Local political leaders from the Congress and the BJP state that the TMC government is playing with lives of hundreds of residents in the area and after several attempts to reach out to the CM Mamata Banerjee, they have received no response in the matter.

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