Last week’s flyover tragedy in Kolkata, India, saddened everyone and the loss of 26 innocent lives is irreparable. The immediate reaction after the tragedy by a senior official at Indian construction company IVRCL that “it is an act of God’ is condemnable and utter nonsense. Making such comments and trying to portray it as natural calamity shows their level of carelessness. Alas, it is a manmade accident, and not the act of God!
While the construction of the bridge was launched in 2003, it was going at a snail’s pace due to financial problems. Nevertheless, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) took over the delayed project and set a deadline, thereby the construction started at a frantic pace.
While TMC took credit for the completion of the project, after the tragedy, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accused the previous Left Front government of clearing faulty flyover plans, claiming that her government were forced to shoulder their liability. As usual, the blame game started by having every political party pointing fingers at each others, passing the buck and avoiding responsibility. However, what these politicians fail to understand is the agony of the affected victims and their families. This clearly depicts how politicians value human lives, however, had there been a political party leader or a wealthy businessman trapped under the debris, would they dare treat the matter in a similar way?
It appears that there is something suspicious in awarding the contract to a particular company with political links and probability of corruption in the supply of construction materials. The ‘killer’ flyover took so many innocent lives, and it is totally negligence on behalf of the construction company, and such negligence is tantamount to murder.
Whoever is responsible for such a heinous crime should be warned sternly and drastic punishment should be enforced. They should not be allowed to leave the country, seize their passports and revoke their business licences forever. Only then can the innocent souls rest in peace. In addition to that, it will send a strong message to corrupt politicians and businessmen to think twice before even considering such dirty sub-standard quality of work.
Will the Kolkata government and the courts find the culprits, punish them and avert such incidents in the future? This is what everyone expects after every tragedy, and we are waiting for the same assurance. Aside from that, the admirable fact of this tragedy was how people came together in the wake of a disaster to offer solace and support to one another.
— The reader is an Indian office manager based in Abu Dhabi