GTA announces 1 lakh ex-gratia for families of bridge collapse victims
Darjeeling: The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 1 lakh each to the families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each to the injured in a bridge collapse incident in the Kalimpong district on Sunday. Two persons died and five were injured.
The incident occurred at Mungpel village under the Pabringtaar gram panchayat, Kalimpong Block 1 of the Kalimpong district on Sunday.
A suspension constructed of wooden planks and bamboo poles collapsed killing two and injuring five. The village is located around 100 km from Kalimpong town.
On Sunday, the villagers had gathered to carry out repair works on the bridge when the wire on one side snapped resulting in the collapse of the bridge.
The bridge is located 2km from the village on the Turung river. During monsoons the villagers cross this mountain river to the agricultural fields.
"The villagers were repairing the bridge on Sunday when the accident occurred," said Sukraj Rai, a local resident.
When repairs were on, a wire on one side snapped and the suspension footbridge collapsed. People repairing the bridged plunged into the river.
Twenty-three-year-old Aitaraj Rai died on the spot. Tek Bahadur Subba (52) later died in the hospital. The five seriously injured people — Ribendra S Wazi, Nahang Subba, Tikaram Subba, Sukman Subba and Bibek Subba — were admitted to the hospital.
"We are with the affected people in this hour of crisis. We appeal the public to inform the GTA about vulnerable bridges in our area. The concerned officials will take necessary steps after inspection," said Anit Thapa, Chairman, GTA.
The suspension bridge was built in 1986 and repaired by the DGHC and repaired twice.
"This time, however, the GTA had decided to reconstruct the bridge and work was scheduled to commence soon. There is another footbridge. However, as it takes around 30 minutes more if one uses the foot bridge upstream, villagers used to prefer the suspension bridge," said GTA member Sanchabir Subba.
On October 22, 2011, a footbridge collapse on River Little Rangeet at Bijanbari, 38 km from Darjeeling, had resulted in the death of 33 persons, including children. More than 150 persons had been injured in the incident.
On that day, local residents had gathered to attend a foundation stone laying ceremony by the then GTA Chief Bimal Gurung. An event had been organised to mark the occasion. With a huge crowd trying to cross the footbridge, the cables had snapped.