Kolkata: The high-power committee in its preliminary report has found negligence on the part of five engineers of the state Public Works Department (PWD) and three officials of the state Finance department for the caving-in of the Majerhat bridge on September 4 in which three people died.
"The five engineers belong to three divisions of the PWD and one of them is the Engineer-in-Chief of the department. The five along with three officials of the state Finance department have been found responsible for the delay in clearing files (for the repairing work of the bridge). If they had acted in the right manner, then we could have taken precautionary measures to avert the incident. They came to know about the weak condition of the bridge in 2016 but kept the concerned minister in the dark," a senior official of Nabanna said on condition of anonymity.
According to sources, the five PWD engineers who had been found to be involved in dereliction of duty are Assistant Engineer and Executive Engineer II of Alipore division, Superintendent Engineer Nabanna, Chief Engineer South Zone and also Engineer-in-Chief of the PWD department. The high-power committee, headed by state Chief Secretary Malay De, has recommended strong action against the negligent officials in the report that was submitted to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday. The committee is also awaiting the report of the Kolkata Police and will be submitting a final report to the Chief Minister within a month. The state government that has decided to bring down the entire bridge, including the damaged part, and construct a new one within a year will write to the Railways next week seeking its permission to demolish the structure. The state has set a target of completing the construction of the bridge in a year and wants to begin work within a month.
Banerjee, along with De, held a press conference on Friday and said some officials of the PWD department were negligent about their duties that led to the cave-in.
"No one will be spared if found guilty in the probe and the government will take steps as per the law," Banerjee had said. The government has also sought permission from the Railways for setting up two level crossings to facilitate the movement of light vehicles. "We have received the letter and are considering the same," a senior official of Eastern Railway said.