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Kolkata’s Majerhat Bridge Had Undergone ‘Surface Repairs’ a Month Before Collapse

The repairs, completed in the last week of July, were the result of ongoing concerns raised by commuters on the arterial bridge that sees traffic from Behala, Budge Budge, Thakurpur and New Alipore.

Aniruddha Ghosal | News18.com@aniruddhg1

Updated:September 4, 2018, 9:00 PM IST
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Kolkata’s Majerhat Bridge Had Undergone ‘Surface Repairs’ a Month Before Collapse
Several cars were crushed as a section of Majerhat bridge collapsed in south Kolkata, Tuesday. (PTI Photo)
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A little over a month before a portion of the arterial Majerhat bridge collapsed on Tuesday, the West Bengal Public Works Department (PWD) had conducted “surface repairs” on the bridge.

The repairs, completed in the last week of July, were the result of ongoing concerns raised by commuters on the arterial bridge that sees traffic from Behala, Budge Budge, Thakurpur and New Alipore.

On Tuesday, several cars and a truck were trapped under the collapsed section of the bridge. While the official death toll is one, eyewitnesses said at least five people died. Fire brigade, police and NDRF personnel are engaged in rescue work with the help of locals and 25 injured persons have been rushed to nearby hospitals.

The bridge, West Bengal Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim said had been “constructed by the Kolkata Port Trust”. The Kolkata Port Trust is an autonomous body under the Union Ministry of Shipping. However, the maintenance of the bridge is undertaken every year by the PWD.

On April 16, the PWD’s Alipore Division had invited tenders for the “surface repairing” of a 1.2 km stretch between Taratala Flyover, Majerhat Bridge and DH Road. The work included “patch repair or patch maintenance”, “bituminous surfacing work with bituminous thickness less than 40 mm”, “repair & rehabilitation” of any bridge and added that the “defect liability period of the work shall be one year from the actual completion of the work.” The estimated amount in the tender was Rs 16.18 lakh.

A source in Public Works Department, however said that at the time of the repairs there had been no sign of any structural weaknesses. “The repair work was specifically for the potholes that were there on the road due to the heavy traffic on it. However at the time there had been no sign of any issues. It is possible that that the ongoing metro work in the area led to weakening of the bridge. But this is a matter of investigation.”

The Union government-run Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation is carrying out work for the 16.km stretch from Joka to BBD Bagh via Majerhat presently.

The West Bengal government has ordered a probe into the collapse. Hakim added, “We will do the technical inquiry after the rescue operation.”

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who is on a visit to Darjeeling, said the priority right now is relief and rescue and added that police is investigating the matter but a detailed investigation will be done later.

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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