With the discovery of two more bodies, the toll in the flyover tragedy in Kolkata rose to 23 on Friday, as the army and the disaster management teams continued their efforts to find corpses and trapped survivors.
The army, National Disaster Response Force personnel, alongside the fire brigade and the police worked through the night and on Friday morning using gas cutters and other sophisticated equipment to cut through the rubble and the tonnes of steel, iron and concrete which had given way Thursday afternoon.
Various agencies were also working to clear the devastation caused by collapse of the Vivekananda Road flyover in the Posta area and restore normalcy of traffic in the crowded market locality.
However, the rescue and clearance operations were hampered for some time due to late night rains.
“Two more bodies have been extricated. The toll now is 23,”an officer manning the city police control room told media. A total of 60 people are injured, some of them battling for life in various hospitals.
“We will need a couple of days to completely remove the debris and ensure normal traffic movement in the entire area. But we are trying to ensure normal traffic at the important intersection of Rabindra Sarani and Klirkishna Thakur Street in the next few hours,” said a police officer.
A top NDRF official said they needed hydraulic jets to clear the devastation.
“It will be done under a much specialised kind of care. There is a requirement of a hydraulic jet. We need to stabilise this building. And specially the construction company, their specialists, their structural engineers, under their supervision this operation will be conducted,” said the official.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who personally coordinated the rescue operations for hours, has announced a compensation of Rs5 lakh as ex-gratia to the next of the kin of the deceased, Rs2 lakh each for the critically injured and Rs1 lakh for people with minor injuries.