'Left Front govt responsible for collapse of Posta Flyover'
Kolkata: State Urban Development and Municipal Affairs minister Firhad Hakim on Tuesday held the erstwhile Left Front government responsible for the collapse of Posta Flyover saying that the agency assigned to complete the project had sketched a faulty design.
Hakim further alleged that a party MP of the CPI(M) had pressurised the then Urban Development minister Ashok Bhattacharya to go ahead with the project and the responsibility of constructing the flyover was given to the agency that had been blacklisted earlier. It may be mentioned here that Posta Flyover tragedy had claimed around 28 lives on 31 March 2016.
While responding to a question in the Assembly, Hakim said: "The design of the flyover was faulty. We came to know that the former Urban Development minister Asok Bhattacharya was forced to engage a firm that had been blacklisted earlier. It was also learnt that despite initial opposition by the department, it had gone ahead with the move. They had called for a tender and the agency was selected. We had to go ahead with the project with the same agency as we could not cancel the tender given by the previous government."
The contract was granted to the Hyderabad-based IVRCL in 2008 and work was supposed to be completed by 2010 but it dragged on. The fate of the flyover still hangs in balance even nearly four years after the collapse. Bhattacharya has, however, denied the claim made by Hakim. He later told reporters that the portion that had collapsed was being constructed by an agency that was engaged by the present government.
Following the tragedy, the state government had formed an inquiry committee comprising former faculty members of Kharagpur IIT to probe the collapse of the under-construction 2.2 km long flyover. The committee had recommended for the dismantling the collapsed flyover. It pointed out that there were "serious flaws in design" and the raw materials used while constructing the flyover were of poor quality. The minister later told the reporters that the fate of the flyover will be decided by the expert committee headed by the Chief Secretary of the state.