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WB govt to demolish Majerhat bridge, construct new one


Press Trust of India  |  Kolkata 

The Majerhat bridge, a portion of which collapsed last week, will be demolished and a new bridge will be constructed in a year, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Friday.

She said there was negligence on the part of some PWD officials and strict action would be taken against them.

A section of the over 50-year-old bridge on the arterial Diamond Harbour Road in south Kolkata collapsed on September 4 in which three people lost their lives.

"The Majerhat bridge will be demolished and a new bridge will be constructed. We will try to build it within a year," Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat.

She said Chief Secretary Malay Dey submitted a preliminary report which recommended immediate demolition of the existing bridge and construction of a new one.

The chief minister said the demolition of the remaining portion of the bridge would start soon.

Dey headed a panel formed by the chief minister to find out reasons which led to the collapse of the bridge.

The chief secretary will be monitoring the entire process of construction of the new bridge and would decide on who would be employed for the construction work.

Banerjee said she has asked the Metro authorities to temporarily stop construction work of the ongoing Joka-BBD Bag project.

"The forensic department cannot collect samples from the site for testing if construction continued," she said.

The chief secretary, in the report, mentioned that vibration due to Metro Railway's construction beside the Majerhat bridge could also be a possible reason for the mishap.

"That requires further investigation. The police are looking into it," Banerjee said, adding the final report by the chief secretary on the bridge collapse would be filed within a month.

"The PWD is our own department but we will not forgive anyone for negligence. Some officials who had wasted much time in handling the files could have suggested some precautionary measures. Thy cannot avoid their responsibility," she said.

Files relating to the health report of the Majerhat bridge in 2016 were not sent to the PWD minister and those files have been seized. Police are probing the matter and they have been instructed to take strict action, the chief minister said.

Banerjee said the state government has requested the Railways to build a level-crossing in a nearby location.

The bridge is over the tracks of the Circular Railway and the Budge Budge-Sealdah section, but the collapsed portion was not over the tracks.

"We will bear the entire expense of building the level crossing and also pay the salary of the person who will be employed to monitor the level crossing," the chief minister said.

She said a survey was conducted by Mayor Sovan Chatterjee, Disaster Management Minister Javed Ahmed Khan and Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar to identify areas where new roads near the bridge collapse site could be built.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Fri, September 14 2018. 20:50 IST