The collapsed portion of the bridge. File Photo.
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Kolkata: The Majerhat road over-bridge that runs over the railway tracks at a stone-throw distance from Majerhat railway station of Eastern Railway in south Kolkata has collapsed.

A nearly 40-meter portion of the bridge at its centre, under which passes Circular Railway tracks, caved in around 4.30 this afternoon. The bridge connects Alipore and Behala in south Kolkata and is a busy thoroughfare.

At the time of the cave in, a Howrah-bound minibus, three private cars, two app cabs, and two motorcycles were on the bridge. They went down along the collapsed portion of the bridge and those in the vehicles got trapped.

Local residents, police, and disaster management teams rescued 19 people in injured condition and rushed them to CMRI hospital at New Alipore and SSKM Hospital at Bhowanipore. Army jawans from New Alipore also joined in the effort on their own.

At SSKM Hospital, one of the injured succumbed to the injuries but an official announcement on this from the state government is awaited. A signal post of the Circular Railway got completely damaged as it came under the debris of the collapsed bridge. Train services on Sealdah-Budge Budge route were suspended.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is in Darjeeling on an official visit, told reporters that there will be A thorough probe into the mishap and appropriate action will be taken. “But right now the priority is rescue and relief. We have directed all our energy towards this.”

State urban development minister Firhad Hakim and Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee reached the spot within an hour of the bridge collapse. Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar also reached there.

Hakim told reporters in the afternoon that all those trapped in the debris have been rescued and there has been no casualty as yet. The bridge was constructed by Kolkata Port Trust 40-years ago and then handed over to the state PWD.

Sealdah-Budge Budge train services resumed partially at 6.10 pm: from Sealdah to New Alipore and Majerhat to Budge Budge. Train services on the New Alipore – Majerhat stretch remains suspended.

Eastern Railway in an official statement has said that: “Maintenance of the collapsed portion of the road over-bridge at Majerhat is not under the railway jurisdiction.” It has also rejected the suggestion that the work on the Joka-BBD Bag Metro project next to the collapsed bridge may have weakened the bridge and contributed to the collapse.

Governor KN Tripathi, who visited the mishap site in the evening, said that the state PWD and railways are jointly responsible for the upkeep of the bridge. “I am not sure whether they were aware of the condition of the bridge. A probe shall bring out everything,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tweeted: “The collapse of a part of a bridge in Kolkata is deeply unfortunate. My thoughts are with the families of the victims. I pray that those who are injured recover at the earliest.”

On 31 March 2016, the under-construction Vivekananda Flyover near Girish Park in north Kolkata collapsed killing 27 people.