Kolkata flyover collapse: 3 more bodies found, death toll touches 24

Of the 90 injured, 7 are said to be very critical; 5 IRVCL officers detained

Kolkata: Three more bodies were recovered from under the debris of the flyover that collapsed on Thursday, taking the death toll to 24 even as five officials of IRVCL, the firm that was building the structure, were detained yesterday. Around 90 people were injured in the collapse and the condition of seven of them is stated to be ‘very critical’.

Relatives of a man killed in the collapse mourn their loss. Pics/PTI
Relatives of a man killed in the collapse mourn their loss. Pics/PTI

Armymen, Kolkata Police, disaster management team, NDRF and fire brigade personnel engaged in rescue work throughout the night, pulled out three more bodies from underneath the rubble of concrete, a police officer said yesterday.

A rescue worker scans the debris for bodies
A rescue worker scans the debris for bodies

“Nobody alive has been recovered... Two mangled autorickshaws apart from a few other vehicles have been pulled out. One lorry is still stuck inside... Whether there is anybody trapped inside cannot be said,” he said.

Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar confirmed that five IRVL officials had been detained for questioning. “We have detained a few officials of the construction company. We are taking action against them,” he said.

Safety norms violated
Gross violations of safety norms led to casualties in the flyover collapse case, an expert on traffic and transport safety, working with the National Highway Authority of India, said yesterday. “There can be technical issues during construction and so the industry practise is to demarcate any construction zone. When such a large overhead structure was being constructed how could people and traffic be allowed underneath,” said IIT Kharagpur Professor Bhargab Maitra, whose team works with the National Highway Authority of India for conducting road safety audits.

Kolkata police in Hyderabad
A four-member team of Kolkata police visited then IVRCL office, located in posh Banjara Hills, around 3 pm yesterday for questioning the company officials. They were assisted by the local police. It was unclear whether the top management was present there. Sources said the team scrutinised files and material relevant to their the investigation. However, the company officials had earlier told the media that they have no information about the Kolkata police team reaching Hyderabad.

TMC, BJP have a go at each other
A war of words ensued between the TMC and the BJP after Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the TMC government showed ‘criminal negligence’ in ensuring relief work and engaging in a ‘competition on corruption’ with the previous Left Front government that resulted in the flyover collapse claiming 24 lives. Countering Naqvi’s claims, TMC spokesperson Derek O’ Brien dismissed his statements as ‘cheap politics’ in the election season.

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