Cheap politics or criminal negligence? War of words over Kolkata flyover collapse

New Delhi: Even as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee cautioned the state against politicizing the horrific flyover collapse in North Kolkata, which claimed lives of 24 people and injured another 100, Trinamool Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party today launched scathing verbal attack on each other.

Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, M A Naqvi said that the TMC government showed "criminal negligence" in ensuring relief work and engaging in a "competition on corruption" with the previous Left Front government which had resulted in the flyover collapse claiming 24 lives.


However, TMC national spokesperson Derek O' Brien dubbed Naqvi's statements as "cheap politics" in the election season.


"The chief minister and the ruling Trinamool Congress have indulged in petty politics of accusing the previous Left Front government. It is not the time to accuse the previous government. If the previous Left Front government had indulged in corruption, then why didn't the TMC government stop it after coming to power? It seems a competition on corruption was on between the two. And the flyover collapse is a result of it," Naqvi told reporters.


Amidst the blame game, it becomes quintessential to determine: what exactly is the reason behind the unfortunate disaster?


Although the government has ordered a probe into it, and would for sure come up with a satisfactory answer sooner or later, there are some ground realities that speak volumes.  


1. The ruling Left Front government had first come up with the idea of a flyover to de-congest this choked Burrabazar stretch.


2. The proposed plan was put into action in the year 2007, however, was stopped two years later due to insufficient funds.


3. Since 2009, the Vivekananda Road Flyover was in need of repairment. It seems likely that the West Bengal Assembly Election prompted Trinamool Congress government to finish the construction work soon.


4. In November 2015, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had assured completion of the flyover by February 2016. In March 2016, Chief Minister postponed the deadline till August 2016.


Meanwhile, the Kolkata Police has detained five officials of the Hyderabad-based construction company IVRCL. “We are taking action against them," Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar said.


With the state elections at hand, Trinamool Congress’ party workers would be in a bundle of nerves. Will this tragedy be an election issue? Can this horrendous incident spark the hatred out of people, who are already questioning the government over Naranda sting and Saradha chit fund scam?

By: Mayank Mohanti