Monday, 2 October, 2023

26 killed after under-construction railway bridge collapses in India

  • IANS, Aizawl
  • 23rd August, 2023 01:59:34 PM
  • Print news

At least 26 workers have been killed and several others injured after an under-construction bridge collapsed in northeast India on Wednesday.

A gantry, a tall metal frame used to build the railway bridge, collapsed in Sairang, a town about 21 km from Aizawal, the capital of Mizoram state.

According to railway and police officials, 22 bodies have been recovered so far.

Rescue operations were on to recover the remaining four bodies from under the collapsed steel structure.

The railway bridge was under construction over the kurung river connecting Bairabi (near southern Assam) to Sairang, 10 km away from Mizoram capital Aizawl.

People living nearby rescued injured workers and rushed them to hospital, police said.

The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), which is implementing the 51.38 km railway project, has sent several medical and engineering teams to provide medical assistance as well as the recovery process.

NFR general manager (construction) sunil kumar jha, along with senior officials, have also rushed to Mizoram from the NFR headquarters Maligaon (Guwahati).

Rescuers from the government-run National Disaster Response Force also arrived on the scene to search for survivors.

"Deeply saddened and affected by this tragedy. I extend my deepest condolences to all the bereaved families and wishing a speedy recovery to the injured," said Mizoram's chief minister, Zoramthanga, who goes by one name.

In a video shared by Zoramthanga on X, formerly known as Twitter, clouds of dust can be seen rising from the collapsed bridge.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, union home minister Amit Shah, railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, many chief ministers of the Northeastern states and top leaders have expressed their deep anguish over the mishap.

The prime minister, who is now in Johannesburg for BRICS summit, announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh from prime minister's national relief fund (PMNRF) to the next of kin of each deceased and Rs 50,000 for those injured.

The railway minister also announced an ex-gratia compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the deceased, Rs 2 lakh towards grievous and Rs 50,000 for minor injuries.

Railroad authorities are investigating the cause of the collapse. There were 40 workers at the site when the accident happened, the police said.

The bridge has been under construction for nearly two years.

India’s transport infrastructure has long been marred by safety concerns, sometimes leading to major disasters on its roads and bridges.

In October last year, a century-old cable suspension bridge collapsed into a river in the western Indian state of Gujarat, sending hundreds plunging into the water and killing at least 132 in one of the worst accidents in the country in the past decade.