Senseless loss of life as another Indian flyover collapses

At least 28 are dead and a further 108 injured after an under-construction flyover collapsed onto a congested market in northern Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal State in the afternoon of Thursday 31 March 2016.

A 100-metre (330 feet) section of the 2.2km construction came crashing down suddenly around lunchtime, crushing pedestrians, cars and other vehicles under huge concrete slabs and metal, according to union representatives who visited the site and met the injured. A massive rescue operation has been launched, involving the State authorities, National Disaster Response Force and Army.

The State Government has agreed to make a small ex-gratia payment of INR 500,000 (US$7500) to the families of those who died and INR 200,000 (US$3000) to those injured severely.

Rama Chandra Khuntia, President of INBCWF and BWI World Council Member demanded full support for the affected while strongly condemning the accident. “The flyover collapse is another glaring example of how low quality construction materials, poor safety standards and a frantic pace of work can generate tragic accidents. A Judicial Inquiry must be established and adequate compensation paid to the family members who have lost their loved ones. Those found responsible should be dealt with firmly.”

The leadership of the various central trade unions of the West Bengal State have also condemned this flyover collapse and have called for stringent action against the guilty. Following protests and widespread political outrage, a total of eight officials of the construction company IVRCL have been arrested.