Seven years have passed since the construction of the flyover began after its collapse. It took five years to decide if the broken flyover will be removed completely or not! Although it was decided to remove it completely, the work is not over yet. In the meantime, another year went by. Locals allege that such a procrastination is going on around Posta’s Vivekananda flyover. The question that revolves most around is, what will happen after breaking the old flyover up? Will there be a new flyover in that place, or will there be an attempt to cover the wound by removing the broken flyover?
Residents of Posta and adjoining areas say many of them are in favour of building new flyover. They are happy if the flyover is built with the necessary precautions and adequate infrastructure and clear planning. They say, “Now it takes more than 30 minutes to reach Howrah station from the north of the city. If it was Vivekananda flyover, it would have taken 5 to 8 minutes. Why would people be deprived of facilities due to negligence of some people?”
Under the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA), the Vivekananda flyover was built by IVRCL, Hyderabad. As of March 31, 2016, a part of the 2.2-kilometer-long flyover had collapsed, killing 27 people and injuring more than 80, prompting an investigation. Under the direction of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, an investigation committee was formed under the leadership of 3 expert professors of Kharagpur IIT and the then Chief Secretary Basudev Banerjee. The committee submitted its report after two years.
The theory of negligence came to the fore. The police gave the charge sheet. 12 people were arrested. Although a few years have passed since then, the future of the flyover is not clear. It began to receive criticisms in various quarters as it lacked a clear answer.
In this context, the health check-up of the flyover was carried out by a number of specialist organizations including a consultant Rites of Railways, Kharagpur IIT. But the administration claims that no organisations could answer if the flyover should be completely demolished, or that it is possible to build a new flyover on top of the old structure.
In the end, when VK Raina, a bridge expert, performed a health check-up of the flyover, he advised to tear down the flyover completely, as informed. That work began in mid-June last year. Now the third phase is going on.
Words from an official
What’s next? No KMDA official wanted to comment clearly. They demanded that a decision be taken after the completion of the bridge demolition work. The future of the new bridge will depend on the financial condition of the administration at that time. However, one of the KMDA officials in charge of the bridge said, “Rites has already submitted a full report on the matter. It said it was possible to build a two-lane (up or down) bridge instead of a four-lane one.”