Brick truck enters, bridge falls

A 20-year-old bridge over a stream collapsed near Siliguri on Friday, three days after Calcutta's Majerhat bridge came crashing down and barely a month after an under-construction flyover fell near the north Bengal town.

By BIRESWAR BANERJEE
  • Published 8.09.18
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The bridge that collapsed with the truck on it near Phansidewa on Friday. Picture by Passang Yolmo

Phansidewa (Siliguri): A 20-year-old bridge over a stream collapsed near Siliguri on Friday, three days after Calcutta's Majerhat bridge came crashing down and barely a month after an under-construction flyover fell near the north Bengal town.

The 30-metre-bridge on a village road in Phansidewa, 27km from Siliguri, snapped into two when a truck carrying bricks was passing over it on Friday morning. No one was injured.

The 30-metre bridge was built in 1998 by the Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad (SMP). Local authorities have ordered a probe.

Trinamul ministers Gautam Deb and Rabindranath Ghosh visited the spot and blamed the Left-run SMP . CPM leaders claimed the government had "deprived" the body of funds. The under-construction flyover, which fell on August 11, is also in the Phansidewa area.

Dorothi Lakra, a resident of Rakhalgach village near the site of Friday's collapse, said the bridge over the stream called Pichla had become weak.

"Usually, it is used by light vehicles. A few months back, the administration put up a board barring heavy vehicles . But the board went missing after some days. As the truck loaded with bricks passed over the bridge on Friday, it came crashing down," Lakra said.

Ainul Haque, the Trinamul member who represents the area in the SMP, claimed the Parishad authorities had delayed repairs.

"An estimate of Rs 16 lakh was sent two years back for repairs. However, no step was taken by the SMP authorities," said Haque.

Deb alleged that more bridges under SMP were "tottering".

The Left has run the SMP since its formation in 1989. "Like the Siliguri Municipal Corporation where we are power, the state government has been depriving the SMP of funds. Due to the paucity of funds, several works, including repairs of roads and bridges, could not be carried out in rural areas of Siliguri," said Jibesh Sarkar, the district CPM secretary.

Tapas Sarkar, the SMP chief, said there "is no question of avoiding responsibilities". "We will rebuild the bridge. We will hold a meeting on Saturday."