Kolkata (West Bengal): The Eastern Railways had alerted Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) of an impending tragedy in a letter at least six months before the Majerhat bridge collapse which killed three people and injured many. During an inspection on July 31, the Eastern railways had found “visible deflection towards Sealdah end“, the slab which had collapsed on Monday. Also Read - Mamata Banerjee Sits on Wheelchair & Keeps Herself Busy by Painting at Dharna Against EC | Watch Video
Pointing out at the slab going out of the alignment in the letter, the Eastern Railway Zone’s Deputy Chief Engineer highlighted the urgency for an inspection of sections of the bridge and flagged several concerns that required attention. A copy of the letter was marked to the railway Senior Deputy Engineer, Sealdah. Also Read - West Bengal Election 2021: Mamata Banerjee Stages Dharna in Kolkata to Protest EC's 24-Hour Campaign Ban
The letter warned statutory body that the 50-year-old bridge had weak RCC and steel beams, exposed reinforcements and had even developed cracks on its pillars over isolated locations. “There are locations having exposed reinforcements in deck slabs and some cracks in piers over isolated locations that require attention,” the letter warned. Also Read - Bihar Police Officer Beaten to Death by Locals in Bengal's Uttar Dinajpur
“The condition of RCC beams of the bridge which supports utility services, are not in good condition and it requires suitable replacement in a programmed manner at the earliest,” the letter to the Superintending Engineer, South Circle, KMDA said. The engineers who have been associated with the investigation say that the letter should have prompted the authorities to take action.
Before the Eastern Railways’ warning, a State-run engineering and consultancy agency RiTES had in 2016 warned the West Bengal government on the precarious condition of several bridges in the city, including Majerhat, after the collapse of the Vivekananda flyover in the city in March 2016. No action was taken, an official said. Another added that repair work was about to be undertaken but it got delayed due to bureaucratic wrangles.
Another bridge collapses in Darjeeling
Just three days after the Majerhat bridge collapsed in Kolkata, another bridge caved in in Darjeeling district of West Bengal on Friday, police said. No casualty or injury has, however, been reported so far. The bridge over Pichla river in Phansidewa block came down when a lorry carrying bricks was crossing it, they said.