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Kolkata Bridge Collapse: RITES Initial Report Says Lack of Maintenance Led to Accident

The investigation team found a couple of girders in the middle of the bridge to be old and corroded.

Sujit Nath | News18

Updated:September 5, 2018, 2:16 PM IST
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Kolkata Bridge Collapse: RITES Initial Report Says Lack of Maintenance Led to Accident
Several cars and a truck are also trapped under the collapsed section of the bridge. Fire brigade, police and NDRF personnel are engaged in rescue work with the help of locals. (Image: News18)
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Kolkata: A day after the Majherhat Bridge collapse in Kolkata, a report by RITES – an engineering consultancy company – has said that a couple of “old corroded pre-stressed girders, rainwater ingest and poor surface repair over the years” was the reason behind the accident.

The report has also made it clear that the accident had nothing to do with the vibrations at the adjacent metro railway construction site, quelling rumours making rounds in social media.

On Tuesday, around 4.40 pm a portion of Majherhat bridge, which connects Alipore with Taratala and Behala, area collapsed. One person was killed, while 26 others suffered serious injuries.

Speaking to News18, a senior RITES official said, “Our team visited the site in the morning and after thorough inspection, we found that old girders, rainwater ingest, unscientific coating/surface repair were the main reason behind its collapse.”

According to the RITES, the surface coating should be two to three inches thick. But the coating on Majherhat bridge was found to be 12 inches. “Instead of removing old layers, fresh coating/patch work was done, which increased its thickness. This increases the weight of the bridge,” a RITES official said.

The team also found a couple of girders in the middle of the bridge to be old and corroded. The report said that the bridge might have broken in the middle before collapsing.

“Our team noticed that the pedestal (at the railway track side) was sheared. This means the force came from the other side to make it sheared. At the collapsed side we found that the pedestal was intact.”

He said, “We learnt that once tram cars used to run through the bridge. Later, tram tracks were removed but the surface repair after removing the tracks was not done, flouting the standard safety norms. There were cracks and the rainwater ingest corroded the structure from inside. Overall, prime facie we can say that its maintenance was not done properly.”

The incident took place on a busy day with a lot vehicles on the flyover. Several pedestrians and vehicles were trapped underneath the debris, who were rescued and admitted at SSKM College and Hospital and CMRI Hospital.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has ordered a probe and said that strict action will be taken against those found guilty.

The state government has announced Rs 1 Lakh for kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the injured.

Meanwhile, a high level meeting is underway at the state secretariat ‘Nabanna’ to ascertain the exact cause of the mishap and whether there were any lapses in regular maintenance of the bridge.

This is second biggest civic disaster in the recent past in Kolkata. On March 31, 2016, a portion of the Vivekananda Road flyover (popularly known as Girish Park flyover) collapsed, claiming nearly 27 lives.

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