A baffling incident struck the city of joy, Kolkata when an under-construction flyover collapsed killing 25 people and injuring around 150 people under the debris. The chief minister, Mamta Banerjee who previously gave hopes to the residents of transforming the city into a gallant London, has ironically debunked her promises when so called “London Bridge” fell down on 31st of March 2016 . A Hyderabad based IVRCL company was in-charged with the Vivekanand Flyover at an estimated cost of whooping 164 crore by the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority. The construction of 2.2 km flyover which began in 2009 was expected to be completed by 2011, actually missed 9 deadlines in 7 years with only 60% of the work done. With the advancing elections the work merely paced up without any restriction on the construction site thereby neglecting the prior safety of the commuters. The bridge which was supposed to unclog the choking traffic in the strangulated area of Burra-Bazaar has only aggravated in the span of seven years.
The IVRCL Company was initially black listed in 2009 by Andhra Pradesh state government on account of its shoddy workforce. Later in 2011, it was again black listed for the second time by the Uttar Pradesh Jal Board for using substandard building materials. The Indian Railways was also among the one to black list the company for the inadequate quality of work and for its lousy output. What we wonder is what drove the officials to appoint such a defaulter company, which has been black listed elsewhere in the country?
What do we expect in such Man-made disaster? An agile action to save the lives of people stuck under the debris pleading for life. Is that too much to ask for? If a minister can reach the site in an hour from an election rally, why did it take so long for a 150 tonne crane to arrive the spot after 4 long hours? No sooner had the NDRF team of 256 officials arrived than the blame game crept into scene. The chief minister blamed the previous government and shuddered to take the responsibility of the tragedy stating that they were merely the victims of the crisis. A reckless statement was also released by the company authorised, as “An act of God” which was utter obnoxious for the victims to digest. If only it was an act of God, it did unveil the masquerade obscuring the underlying unscrupulousness of the designated officials and corruption rooted beneath the myth of the ‘city of joy’.