This has been the second such incident that has taken place in Phansidewa since August this year.
Days after the Majerhat bridge collapse in Kolkata sent shock-waves across the state, a bridge over a canal collapsed in Siliguri’s Phansidewa on Friday. The incident happened early this morning. Like the Majerhat bridge, the middle portion of the bridge collapsed. A lorry was plying on it when it collapsed. The vehicle got stuck. The truck driver has been rushed to nearby hospital.
The bridge connects Manganj and Phansidewa areas to Siliguri, a major city in north Bengal. Phansidewa is around 22 km from Siliguri. “The movement of loaded trucks is banned on this bridge but many such vehicles bound for north-eastern states continue to take that bridge. This accident is a result of that,” North Bengal Development Minister Rabindranath Ghosh said.
He said this bridge was constructed long back and papers of the structure are not available. Repair work of the bridge will be undertaken after the PWD prepares a report, he said. Tourism Minister Gautam Deb said the bridge was maintained by the Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad (a sub-divisional body), run by the CPI(M)-led Left Front. “I will report to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee,” Deb said.
Engineers and state government officials have rushed to the spot. Senior CPI(M) leader of Darjeeling district Jibesh Sarkar accused the Trinamool Congress government and the district administration of ignoring repeated pleas to repair the bridge. “We had informed the state and the local administration that it needs to be repaired. But as it is a Left-run Mahakuma Parishad, funds were not released by the government,” Sarkar told PTI.
This has been the second such incident that has taken place in Phansidewa since August this year. Last month, a portion of an under-construction flyover came crashing down at Phansidewa in Darjeeling district. However, there were no injuries, police said. The incident happened near Kanthibhita in Phansidewa town along the National Highway 31D. Construction of four lanes of the highway is presently going on in the stretch which is a part of the East-West corridor envisaged under National Highways Development Project – Phase II, and is a vital link for connectivity to the North East.