The death toll in the collapse of a flyover under construction in Kolkata rose to 23 on Friday, after rescuers worked through the night with cranes and jackhammers to clear huge slabs of steel and concrete.
Ninety people were saved after a 100-metre (110-yard) length of the flyover broke off at one end and slammed into pedestrians and vehicles below on a road through a busy commercial district near Girish Park in the eastern city.
Amidst the tragedy, ministers and other senior level officers visited the site only to call it a disaster and not to bring politics into it.
On her visit to the site, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “It is a disaster. No one should indulge in politics over it.”
There were chants of “Chor hai, sab chor hai” (everyone is a crook), on the arrival of Mayor Sovan Chatterjee and Disaster Management and Fire Minister Javed Khan, who arrived two hours late to the spot, says this report by The Indian Express.
Ahead of the assembly elections, the tragedy has triggered a political blame-game between Trinamool Congress and the opposition. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has said that the project was kicked off when CPM was in power, back in 2008. And the project was handed over to a blacklisted firm, IVRCL.
She also said that since the mishap has happened now the current government will do whatever is required to be done, reports The Times of India.
However, CPM leader Asoke Bhattacharya denied the allegations of awarding the project to a blacklisted firm.
"The company was not blacklisted when it got the project. IVRCL was the lowest bidder for the project. The technical details were examined by a committee comprising representatives from the Centre and state, and experts. It's a fact that the company was blacklisted two or three years ago, but I would rather ask why urban development minister Firhad Hakim (of TMC) didn't change the company after it was blacklisted," he said to TOI.