Majerhat Bridge collapse – The politics of it

31 March, 2016. I vividly remember that black day. The campaign for Assembly elections was at its peak. I had just reached office in the morning. Within an hour, the TV screens were blackened with those horrific images. A section of the flyover under construction at Posta had collapsed. Nearly a hundred people had been injured. Fate had taken the lives of nearly 25 people. I had prayed to the Almighty on that day: do not make my city go through this ordeal again. Alas, that was not to be. At the turn of two and a half years, another bridge has collapsed. This time, in south Kolkata.

Majerhat can be best described as the lifeline of south Kolkata – it connect South 24 Parganas with Kolkata. Naturally, such an important intersection witnesses the footfall of lakhs of commuters daily. So, the bridge collapse in this area was tragic and unwarranted to say the least. Every death is painful, but thanks to the Almighty, this time one life was lost. Needless to say, politics – at state and national level – has taken centre stage after this tragedy.

 

 

The incident happened on 4th September, 2018. Around 4:45 PM. A section of the Majerhat bridge on Diamond Harbour road collapsed, taking with it few bikes, cars and a mini bus. As soon as the news spread, State Disaster Response Team, fire services, quick response team reached the spot. Good Samaritans in the area joined in on the rescue work. Soon, top officials of the government, including the Urban Development Minister, the Mayor of Kolkata, the Commissioner of Police, State Security Advisor reached the spot to monitor the rescue work. Thanks to the prompt action of the administration, many lives were saved.

The Chief Minister was in Darjeeling at the time. While she wanted to return to the State Capital immediately, lack of communication options in the Hills post sunset, and untoward weather prevented her from returning to the plains. While reporters harangued her for a comment on the responsibility for the incident, she maintained rescue and relief work was the priority.

However, social media and mainstream media were quick to shift to the blame game. Angry netizens were blaming the government; some were expressing their fear of other bridges collapsing in near future. There were some trolls of political parties who were talking of appeasement politics and engaged in rumour mongering.

In the midst of all this, the president of the country, the prime minister and other honchos of the ruling party at Centre started tweeting about the incident. A recently-inducted former minister called a press conference within minutes of the incident and blamed misgoverance of the State Government for this incident. It almost appeared that Majerhat was the only second bridge in the history of humanity to have collapsed. It is amusing that the same vocal BJP functionaries seemed to have lost their goat in July when an under-construction flyover in the Prime Minister’s constituency collapsed, killing 19 people.

There is no doubt that the Majerhat flyover was not maintained well. The CM herself had ordered a renovation in July. Questions arise on the role of Public Works Department. However, there are questions being raised which need answers. Did the construction work of Joka-BBD Bag metro near this bridge, and the use of vibrators, lead to the ground becoming soft? With the heavy downpour in the past one month, did the bridge collapse under pressure? Does railways not share the blame (after all this is a railway overbridge).

Questions will be answered in due course of time. Need of the hour is the safety audit of all the bridges in Kolkata and rest of the State. I have full faith in the Chief Minister that she will rise to the occasion.

P.S. I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter. This is my second post.

DISCLAIMER: All Images Used In This Post Have Their Respective Copyrights

About Agnivo Niyogi

Typical Aantel, reader, blogger, news addict, opinionated. Digital media enthusiast. Didi fanboi. Joy Bangla!

Posted on September 5, 2018, in Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 36 Comments.

  1. Nice to read a post supporting the government for a change after constant trolling on social media. Thanks for bringing to light these facts!

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  2. The ground becoming soft is a possibility that mr father told the first time he saw the news because he has been in piling for long. Good to read a balanced view. Definitely we need a huge infra improvement all over the country instead of trying to pull off stunts like bullet train and under water metro rail.

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  3. A very sad and unfortunate incident. I heard about it and saw the news updates recently. Sadly the politicians are least concerned about it as always.

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  4. This has become a norm of the day. Blame game starts immediately after every disaster. During the Kerala floods people blamed the Central Govt and now people are blaming the state government. Just a role reversal! Does not matter who the chief minister is..she is, after all, a politician. If she was so concerned don’t you think there should have been development on a war footing? Many Bengali friends of mine from Calcutta are not very happy with the present state government and the political situation in the state.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I understand the angst of your friends. There is an inherent class bias against the current CM because she comes from a humble background, cannot speak proper English and is not a textbook Bhodrolok. However, as far as development goes, there has been a sea-change. Yes, there are lacunae, which needs to be addressed.

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  5. It is sad that politics started playing as always it happens during a disaster. It is a fact that infrastructure is crumbling everywhere. Corrupt officials think little about public convenience and politicians try to take advantage of any mishap.

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  6. Such news breaks my heart, dont know who all are responsible but I just pray to God that they give strength to families of the deceased ones

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  7. Blame Trinamool, Blame BJP, Blame Congress, Don’t spare Momota di, Modi ji, and Rahul ji… The fact of the matter is innocent people who might have voted for all these parties lost their lives. No amount of relief money will bring solace to the families of the departed. As long as the current political system and its inherent corruption remains, there will be disasters, blame games, and yes loss of lives.

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  8. This is such a sad news.. and political parties will take this as a chance to malign each other and not work towards getting things to a better position. Sad state of mind!!

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  9. i am from kolkata only and this accident is very shocking.. Where we are safe a question always in my mind

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  10. #MyFriendAlexa #FlavorsofworldRead

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  11. A pleasant change from political bashing to the truth being told. #wordsmithkaurreads

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  12. Whenever some mishaps happen in a state, the people of that area are the worst affected. Higher authorities start the blame game. Well, waiting patiently for their answers too.

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  13. Honestly, more than the collapse the focus was shifted on who is to blame. You’ve mentioned that correctly. It’s the year where a lot of such structures have collapsed. In Mumbai too, a bridge which plies so many people and also happens to be above the railway track just fell off.. That’s bad!!

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  14. It is always the same story. Something goes wrong and everyone starts playing the blame game, pointing fingers at everyone else. It’s good to read something positive here about the government and showing your faith in the powers that be!

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  15. this is really sad, our leaders promise 100 things and forget
    #MyFriendAlexa

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  16. Very rightly detailed where the focus shifts easily from the mishap to blame game. I hope for the betterment in sensitivity of our politicians be it from any party. Good write-up!

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  17. Blame game is the easiest to play when no one wants to take responsibility. It’s sad to see incidents like these taking place time and again. Who will take the responsibility while people die and the infrastructure crumbles? Your post gives a balanced overview but I wonder which public works body or political party will answer these questions.

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  18. This is heartbreaking indeed..

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  19. this incident was really heartbreaking, its effect on common man is depressive, hope those who suffered get some strength in due time

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  20. I find it very sad that most politicians feel it is fitting to provide a repartee for their social media accounts rather than do some real action when such incidents occur. It is sad that even in this day and age infrastructure issues like thesehappen and lives are lost. Maintenance must be a force of habit

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  21. A very unfortunate incident indeed,the common man is the one who faces all problems & no authorities give a damn about it…an incident which could have been avoided

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  22. This is really sad. And bridge collapsing in Kolkata has become frequent in recent times – posta, ultadanga, burabazar. Very unfortunate, and very sad.

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  23. Dr. Surbhi Prapanna

    Whatever had happened was very sad and unfortunate. and unfortunately, it is becoming really common nowadays. you had given really balanced thoughts about the situations. #surbhireads #Myfriendalexa

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  24. These incidents are sad and infuriating. So much politics around the lives of people.

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  25. My sister is in Kolkatta. As I saw the first pic of this collapse on FB, I feared to the core. I called her and when she said she is alright, I thanked God. Such incidents claim lives of many innocent people and no one know when similar tragedy will happen to them. This is undoubtedly a matter of concern and my deepest condolence with the families who lost their loved ones. The most annoying part is this political blame game. Not every time Govt can be set responsible for tragedies. Very agree with you that need of the hour is the safety audit of all the bridges in Kolkata and rest of the State. And in fact, in every state of the country as no one know when another such tragedy will again haunt us. #MyFriendAlexa #vibhuandme

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  26. Politicians are the first to take advantage of such unfortunate incidents. Good read.

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  27. Infrastructure development and maintenance never seems to be on the cards, whichever party is ruling. Such occurrences have become common now and affect only the common man. What about those who died or are seriously injured?

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  28. Such a sad news and blame game has become the most favorite sport at Social Media. Same things happen in Mumbai, Instead of doing our duties, sharing our responsibilities as citizens many are ready to blame government , even if it’s a natural disaster like Heavy rains, Draught , tsunami , earthquake etc. Glad to read your balanced point of view. We need big infrastructure development in our India. #MyFriendAlexa #SujatawdeReads

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  29. the blame game is very normal. This news is breaking my heart. A very sad day indeed
    #MyFriendAlexa #zenithbuzzreads

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  30. There is politics in everything in this country. Politicians give a political turn to even a normal story. Nothing new in this.

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  31. Good analysis of the collapse. BTW, thanks for introducing me to the word antel 🙂

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  32. Good to know a different point of view.

    Like

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