Flyover tragedy toll rises, political slugfest begins
24 DEAD IN KOLKATA TMC on back foot three days ahead of Assembly polls
KOLKATA: The flyover collapse that killed at least two dozen people in Kolkata has sparked a political slugfest, with the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) forced on the back foot just three days ahead of the Assembly elections in West Bengal.
But the political decibels appeared to undermine the human cost of the tragedy. The death toll rose to 24 on Friday as rescuers worked round-the-clock to pull out some 90 people alive from under the rubble of the flyover which caved in a day ago.
By late Friday much of the wreckage had been cleared. Disaster workers said it was unlikely more people could still be trapped.
Police arrested three senior officials of the Hyderabad-based company IVRCL, which was constructing the flyover. They also filed culpable homicide charges against the firm.
The visuals of rescue work, the blood and suffering played out on TV and newspapers appeared more to stoke politics, offering the opposition Left–Congress alliance and the BJP a potent weapon to attack the ruling party with. Kolkata votes on April 25 and May 5, meaning the opposition will get a month to step up pressure on the Trinamool, which has sought to deflect all blame.
“The tender was awarded during the Left rule. We did not know anything about it,” chief minister Mamata Banerjee has said, adding, “No one should try to make political capital out of it.”